Mole removal in Singapore: The treatment options, how they're formed, and more
On the dot
In the grand scheme of things, moles don't pose too much of a complexion concern. Heck, some of them even show up in strategic positions that might help you appear more distinctive (see: Cindy Crawford). Except, of course, when they begin to impair your health — or, well, impede the aesthetic you've worked so hard to create. Whatever the reason, we promise that there are ways to deal with 'em, depending on your budget and comfort levels. The deal with the discolouration sitch, below.
What are moles, actually?
They are (essentially) growths on your skin that appear as small dark brown spots. They can appear alone or in groups, and can vary in texture, shape, and size. Funnily enough, they even come in hues ranging from brown to pink, and can appear anywhere on your body. Moles can fade with time, age, and based on conditions such as adolescence and pregnancy.
How do moles form?
Moles are formed when skin cells known as melanocytes form. They are distributed throughout your skin randomly and produce melanin — i.e. the pigment that gives your complexion its colour.
How can you tell if a mole is "dangerous"?
Typically, most moles aren't dangerous. There can, however, be cancerous variations. and need to be paid close attention to. According to skincare professionals, you should be wary if the mole appears slightly differently from your existing ones, or if they appear after age 25 — this is because new moles don't typically form past a certain point. You should also approach a doctor if said spots cause you pain in any way, such as bleeding, itching, oozing pus, or if they become tender.
In summary, here are a main list of factors to watch out for:
- If they appear asymmetrical, where half of the mole isn't a mirror image of the other.
- If they have irregular, notched, or scalloped borders.
- If they have changed in colour or texture.
- If they are larger than 0.6cm in diameter.
It should be noted, too, that some people are at a higher risk of developing cancerous moles than others. Those born with larger moles, for instance, or those who have more than 50 moles on their face and body. It is advised that those with a family history of melanoma keep a careful watch on their moles as well.
What are some of the ways utilised to remove moles?
According to Dr Liew, Consultant Dermatologist of SOG — HM Liew Skin & Laser Clinic, you may opt to get it removed via a) laser; b) cauterisation; or c) surgical excision. It is best you make an appointment with your dermatologist so they'll be able to recommend the best course of action for you. We've provided a brief idea of what to expect depending on your mole's appearance, below.
If your mole is small, flat, and not cancerous...
This is when a laser is best suited to remove it. Dr Liew assures that this technique eliminates moles without damaging surrounding skin cells, though there is a tiny risk of recurrence after. Pros including a reduced likelihood of scarring and minimal downtime. For these reasons, the laser option is ideal for anyone looking to remove moles out of cosmetic reasons.
If the mole is large, raised, and protuding...
Opt to get it cauterised. This is where heat is slowly applied to the mole, causing it to vaporise in due time. Pigmented skin cells could remain beneath the skin after the procedure, so there is a risk, too, of recurrence.
If there is a high likelihood that the mole is cancerous...
Surgical excision is your best bet. Local anesthetic is utilised to numb the area, before it is cut out alongside a small patch of skin surrounding the area to prevent its return. The procedure will require stitches — depending on the size of the mole — and it's likely to form a scar.
How much do removal procedures cost?
This boils down to your clinic and method of choice. At Dr Liew's practice, laser begins at $100 and surgical excision at $550. It is recommended that you get a consult before making any major decisions.