How to Get Rid of Skin Moles

Four Methods:Identifying the Type of Mole You Want RemovedHaving Your Doctor Remove Non-Cancerous MolesHaving Your Doctor Remove a Cancerous MoleRemoving Moles Yourself with Natural Remedies

A mole, also called a nevus, is a growth on the skin due to the clustering of pigment cells. It usually takes the form of a brown or black dot or “splotch”. Most adults have 10 to 40 moles.[1] The vast majority are completely harmless and require no attention, but may be removed for cosmetic reasons or if they are bothersome, either by a doctor or by trying herbal remedies. Some moles, however, can signify melanoma - a potentially deadly skin cancer that is much, much easier to cure if the malignancy is caught and treated early.[2]

Method 1
Identifying the Type of Mole You Want Removed

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    Determine the type of mole in order to assess your treatment options. While you may use natural methods to remove moles for cosmetic reasons, you will need to see a doctor for cancerous moles. If you have several moles and one looks different from the others, you should get it evaluated by a doctor. If you’re ever in doubt about a mole, always see your doctor.
    • Common moles -- Non-cancerous moles are typically pink, tan or brown. They are one color. They can be flat or raised, round or oval, and are typically smaller than a pencil eraser.[3] If you have 50 or more common roles, you are at increased risk for skin cancer and should consult your doctor.
    • Atypical moles (dysplastic) – See your doctor if you have any large, unusually shaped, or mulit-colored moles, as these may be more likely to develop into skin cancer.[4]
    • Congenital moles (birthmarks) – These are moles that you are born with. Very large congenital moles put you at greater risk for melanoma, so you should consult your doctor regularly to check for signs of skin cancer.[5]
    • Spitz nevi – These moles look like melanoma (skin cancer). They are usually pink or multicolored, raised, and domed shaped. They may bleed or ooze. You will need a biopsy to ensure such a mole is not cancerous. Spitz nevi are more common in children and young adults.[6]
    • Melanoma – A melanoma is a cancerous mole. It will need to be removed. See your doctor immediately if you suspect you have a melanoma.
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    Use a mirror to perform a self-check. You should check your body for moles once a month. Take off your clothes and stand in a room with bright lighting. If possible, have a full-length mirror and a hand mirror available.[7]
    • Remember to examine your scalp and hairline, behind your ears, and under your arms.
    • Check your legs, feet, genitals, and the back of your neck, buttocks, and upper thighs.
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    Check for signs of malignancy in the mole's appearance. Look for the signs of malignancy using the mnemonic ABCDE. The more of the following aspects are true for your mole, the more likely melanoma is:[8][9]
    • Asymmetry. Cancerous moles can be asymmetrical or uneven.
    • Borders. Cancerous moles can have uneven, ragged borders, rather than smooth ones.
    • Color. Cancerous moles are often black or red and can have uneven coloration - some parts may be darker than others.
    • Diameter. Any mole larger than a pencil eraser may be cause for concern.
    • Evolving. Most importantly, any mole that is changing - either in size, shape, or composition - may be cancerous and should be treated as such until proven otherwise.
    • Additionally, the most dangerous form of melanoma, nodular melanoma, has its own criteria:
      • Elevated. Raised moles are especially likely to develop into melanoma.
      • Firm. Cancerous moles often become firm or hard to the touch.
      • Growing. Moles that are growing are special causes for concern.
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    Contact your doctor immediately if you believe you have melanoma. If you have any reason to believe a mole may be cancerous, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as you can. Beginning treatment as early as possible is important for successfully curing melanoma, and only a qualified medical professional can guide you to the right treatment plan.[10]

Method 2
Having Your Doctor Remove Non-Cancerous Moles

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    Speak with your health insurance provider. While many insurance plans will not cover cosmetic mole removal, there are other reasons that you might remove a mole. If your mole is bothering you, impairing your vision or functionality, or snagging on jewelry or clothing, your insurance company may cover removal.[11]
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    Have the mole cut off via surgery. A dermatologist can usually remove a mole in one or two visits by simply cutting it off. Depending on the size and depth of the mole, your doctor may be able to "shave" your mole off so that it is flush with the skin, or may need to make a deeper cut and stitch the skin closed. If cancer is suspected, the mole will be sent to a lab for a biopsy.[12]
    • For most small moles, local anesthesia (numbing of the immediate area) is sufficient to prevent pain during removal.
    • If the mole grows back, see your doctor immediately, as this is a potential sign of cancer.
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    Destroy the mole with a laser. There are dermatologists who treat moles with lasers, but this is not usually the first option. While lasers can destroy the cells of a mole, some people report that the pigmentation returns after treatment, often even darker than before.[13]
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    Freeze other types of nevi with cryotherapy. There are certain types of nevi or skin growths that are not moles, such as sun-induced patches of thick skin called keratosis, that can be removed by freezing and killing them. This is typically done with a cotton swab dipped in liquid nitrogen and takes only a minute or less.[14]
    • In cryotherapy, a residual blister or scab may appear at the site of the treatment, but this normally heals on its own.
    • See your doctor if there are signs of infection – redness, swelling, or drainage – or if the skin growth reappears after treatment.

Method 3
Having Your Doctor Remove a Cancerous Mole

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    Have a biopsy done. If your doctor suspects that your mole is cancerous, s/he will remove part of it and send it to a lab for testing. A biopsy is necessary to diagnose melanoma.[15][16]
    • Biopsies can be done quickly and easily in your doctor’s office.
    • The biopsy will reveal whether a mole is cancerous or not. It may also tell your doctor what stage of cancer your mole is.
    • In some cases, you may need a surgery called a sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB). This will help your doctor determine what stage of cancer the melanoma is at.
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    Undergo an excision surgery. If caught early on before it has spread, melanoma can be eliminated entirely via the removal of the cancerous mole. This process, called excision, often requires only local anesthetic (during which the affected area is numbed and the patient stays awake), though especially large or deep melanomas may require general anesthesia (during which the patient is put to sleep).[17]
    • A special type of excision procedure called Mohs Micrographic Surgery has become recognized as very effective in treating two of the most common types of skin cancer, Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma, as well as melanoma.[18] In a Mohs Surgery, the doctor progressively removes small sections of effective tissue and examines these under a microscope until s/he finds that the sections no longer contain cancer cells.[19]
    • Excision surgeries, if minor, may only require stitches, while larger excisions may require a skin graft.[20]
    • You may need someone to help you care for the wound after surgery if you have a large surgery site. Talk with your doctor before surgery about what to expect. Follow the doctor’s instructions and keep any follow-up appointments.
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    Undergo radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and/or other cancer treatments. If the cancer spreads beyond the initial mole and into the lymph nodes or other organs, traditional cancer treatments may become necessary. Chemotherapy, radiation, and a variety of other treatments are available for treating skin cancer.[21]
    • Some of these options offer a chance to halt the disease, while others are palliative - meant to improve and/or lengthen the patient's life in incurable cases.
    • Talk to your doctor to determine your options if a simple excision surgery is insufficient for treating your melanoma.
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    Limit your exposure to UV rays to help prevent future melanoma. Excessive exposure to ultraviolet light (usually in the form of sunlight, but also from tanning beds, etc.) is a major contributor to the development of melanoma.[22] To reduce your risk of developing the types of moles which can progress into melanoma, avoid activities that require staying in direct sunlight for long periods of time, like tanning, outdoor swimming, and so on.
    • If you do spend time in the sun, use plenty of high-SPF sunscreen of at least SPF 30.
    • This advice is especially important for pale-skinned individuals, as they are naturally more susceptible to skin damage from sun exposure.
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    Have regular skin checks. Having melanoma makes you 5 times more likely to have another, so it’s important to have regular skin checks.[23] Make follow-up appointments with your doctor and consult with your physician about what other preventive measures you may need.[24]
    • You should also have regular skin checks if you or your family have a history of skin cancer.

Method 4
Removing Moles Yourself with Natural Remedies

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    Do not cut or shave off moles at home. While natural remedies for moles are mostly harmless, attempting to cut a mole off yourself can leave a permanent scar or cause a dangerous infection. If the mole contains cancer, some of the cancer cells may stay in the skin and spread.[25]
    • You should also see a doctor before you try any natural remedies for your mole to ensure that it is not cancerous.
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    Know that self-treatment of moles may lead to scarring. It is always best to see a dermatologist if you wish to remove a mole for cosmetic reasons. The treatments listed below have been used for decades, but they are not scientifically proven. Some may irritate your skin, or even lead to scarring.
    • If you experience irritation, stop the treatment immediately and call your doctor.
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    Use natural skin whiteners to fade out moles. There are a number of fruits and extracts that have been shown to whiten skin. Though each of these treatments will take several weeks to show an effect, they can be an effective, scar-free way to reduce the appearance of moles, particularly non-raised ones.
    • Lemon Juice - Citrus fruits contain vitamin C, which promotes collagen production (necessary for the creation of new skin cells), is a powerful antioxidant and has been shown to inhibit skin darkening due to UV exposure.[26] Combine lemon juice with honey and apply to the mole for 15 to 20 minutes, once a day. Wash off with water.
      • Warning: Do not expose the mole to sunlight while treating it. The juice in citrus fruits can react with UV light to cause photodermatitis, a painful condition resulting in a rash, blisters or scaly skin.[27]
    • Asian Pears - Pears contain arbutin – a naturally occurring form of hydroquinone, which has been proven to be an effective tyrosinase inhibitor. Tyrosinase is an enzyme that helps to produce melanin, the pigment that darkens skin, so inhibiting will produce a skin-whitening effect.[28][29] The best pear varieties to use are Yaquang, Hongpi, Quingpi, or Guifei.[30] Blend the peel and fruit together along with honey as a binding agent and apply for 15-20 minutes a day, washing off with warm water. Stop if you develop skin irritation.
    • Pineapple - Pineapple fruit contains compounds that act as tyrosinase inhibitors, thereby whitening skin.[31] Blend four slice of pineapple in a food processor along with a half a tablespoon of honey. Apply for 15-20 minutes a day and wash off with warm water.
    • Gooseberry oil, bearberry extract or grapefruit seed extract. These all contain tyrosinase inhibitors that help to whiten skin,[32] but you should be careful when using, as too much may cause an allergic reaction. Mix a few drops of the oil or extract with honey and apply to the mole for 15-20 minutes a day.
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    Apply garlic to the mole. Garlic contains sulphur-rich juices and enzymes that break down pigment-producing cells and lighten pigmentation. Garlic may help lighten a mole. Cut a clove of garlic in half, place the cut side in contact with the mole, and secure it overnight with a bandage. The mole should begin to disappear within 5 days.[33]
    • Warning: Garlic can irritate and redden your skin.
    • Apply petroleum jelly to the area around the mole to protect it from the garlic juice.
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    Use apple cider vinegar. Clean the mole with warm water, then soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and place it on the mole. You can secure it with a bandage overnight, but if you wish to irritate your skin less, consider placing it on the mole for only 10-15 minutes, four times a day. The mole may fall off after 10 days or so.[34]
    • Warning: Apple cider vinegar can make the mole worse at first.
    • Using apple cider vinegar may leave scars once the mole is removed.
    • Apply petroleum jelly to protect the skin around the mole.
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    Try castor oil or flaxseed oil. Though evidence regarding their effectiveness is inconclusive, both of these oils have long been used to soften and dissolve moles. They may be particularly helpful with raised moles.
    • Castor Oil -- Mix just a pinch of baking soda and a few drops of castor oil and apply to the mole twice a day. This method is unlikely to leave scars, but it may take a month or more before your mole starts to fade.
    • Flaxseed Oil – Mix finely ground flax seeds and honey to make a paste. Apply it to the mole for one hour, three times a day. It may take several weeks for the mole to fade.
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    Apply aloe vera. Use a cotton bandage to apply aloe vera to your mole and wait until it is completely absorbed, then apply more. After several weeks, your mole may fade.[35]


  • If your mole is changing rapidly, see a doctor as soon as possible.
  • Don’t use mole removal creams. These creams are often sold online, marketed as a cheap, noninvasive alternative to surgical removal. In fact, mole removal creams can end up leaving deep pockets in your skin, since they go beyond the mole and dig into the skin underneath, causing irreparable damage. The small scar left behind by surgical removal is minimal in comparison.[36]

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Categories: Skin Conditions