A mole removal scar is common and usually not a cause for concern. A scar typically fades over time. However, there are ways to reduce the appearance more quickly.
Moles, or nevi, are so common that most adults have at least a few. While some moles can be a sign of skin cancer, they are rarely a cause for concern.
Even though moles are common and often harmless, many people still want to get them removed because they find their moles unattractive. In cases where moles are cancerous, removal is essential.
Removing moles can cause a scar, however. Individuals considering mole removal should consult with their doctor and discuss the potential for scarring before having the procedure.
In many cases, depending on the size of the mole and the technique the healthcare professional uses to remove it, scarring is minimal.
Only trained professionals in a sterile environment should do mole removal, to minimize the risk of scaring.
The appearance of a mole removal scar depends on the original mole.
In the first few days after a mole removal procedure, the body will try to repair the wound. Scarring is the body’s natural response to injuries that penetrate the deeper layers of the skin.
The body produces collagen to heal the skin where the mole was before. This substance is the main ingredient in connective tissues, such as the skin.
The collagen that results from an injury is thicker and denser than usual.
Approximately 2–4 weeks after mole removal, as healing tissue begins to build up, the affected area may look rough and red and feel stiff.
Although the wound area could be a little raised and red for 1–2 months, the scar typically becomes less red and flatter over time.
The time it takes for a mole removal scar to heal depends, in part, on the procedure the healthcare professional used. The different methods for removing moles include:
- Shaving: One of the most common techniques for mole removal, it can leave the skin pink for a while, often with little scarring.
- Surgical removal: When a mole is large enough, typically with a diameter greater than 8 millimeters, a surgeon must cut down to the fat below the skin to remove it completely. The wound can be circular or more football-shaped if it is larger. The surgeon will stitch the skin together.
- Laser: This method is more effective with shallow moles and may not always be scar-free.
- Radio wave: Some researchers say this technique causes a minimal amount of scarring.
After the mole removal, there are three phases to the process of scar healing:
- Inflammatory stage: This first stage starts about 12 hours after the procedure and lasts for about 5 days.
- Proliferation stage: Overlapping with the inflammatory phase, this stage begins within roughly 24 hours of the removal, and lasts for around 7 days.
- Maturation stage: This final stage can continue for as much as a year after the surgery.
Doctors typically remove the stitches from a surgical mole removal within 1–2 weeks after a procedure. The entire recovery period for surgical removal of moles is typically around 4 weeks.
On average, the body will continue to work on reshaping a scar for at least 1 year.
Taking good care of the wound after a mole removal can help keep scarring to a minimum.
Care practices will vary, depending on the type of procedure for removal of the mole. Keeping the wound moist after mole removal is essential and may help it heal up to 50% faster.
In general, the wound should be kept clean, bandaged, and hydrated with over-the-counter ointments, for example, petroleum jelly. A person should change the bandage once or twice a day.
People should not use alcohol on mole removal wounds, as this could interfere with the healing process.
Once the wound heals, gentle massage can encourage blood flow, promote healing, and help make the area feel less stiff.
It is important to continue to care for the wound after the bandage is no longer needed. Staying out of the sun is key.
People should use clothing and sunscreen to make sure they protect the removal area from the sun’s rays for at least 1 year.
Treating a mole removal scar is best done by dermatologists or medical specialists who are familiar with the full range of options for scar treatment. They can recommend the most appropriate course of action.
Some medical options to aid the healing of a mole removal scar include:
- silicone gel sheets
- polyurethane wound coverings
- laser treatment
- pressure treatment
Some alternative healthcare practitioners recommend treating scars with ointments or creams that contain vitamin E.
There is no significant scientific evidence to support these methods. However, medical practitioners recommend moisturizing scar tissue to keep it soft and flexible.
Moles are very common and often medically harmless. People may want them removed because they find them unsightly or irritating.
Mole removal can result in scars, with larger and deeper moles increasing the chance of scarring.
Proper wound care after mole removal can reduce the risks of scarring. Scar treatments are available from licensed professionals.