You either love them or hate them. The reality is that moles on the face can be of different types, sizes, colors, and exhibit different growing patterns. The majority of moles are benign, but some moles should be watched carefully.
Moles are very common, and though they can appear anywhere on the body, facial moles generally get more attention than those located elsewhere. Typical face moles are small, dark, skin growths, but they can also be, flesh-toned or yellow-brown in color. Moles may be flat, however, some moles are raised over the surrounding skin, making them more noticeable.
Generally, moles are circular or oval in shape, and they may occur singly, or in groups.
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Melanocytes are the skin cells that give skin its natural color. Moles develop when melanocytes grow in a cluster, rather than being dispersed throughout the skin.
Some moles may seem to just disappear.
This mole fluctuation is often the result of hormonal changes, including:
- Pregnancy – when moles may darken
- Teenage years – when the number of moles proliferate
- Over 40 – when moles may disappear
Hereditary factors play a part in the likelihood, and type, of mole development. They may be present at birth, but most people develop moles during the first 30 years of their life. Fair skinned people are more prone to mole development than darker skinned people.
Sunlight also plays a part in mole development, as they grow more often on areas of the body that are frequently exposed to sunlight, including the face, hands, arms and neck.
There are several different types of facial moles with varying growth patterns. The common moles on faces, are:
- Congenital Moles
Congenital moles may be present at birth, or develop in early childhood. These moles are small in size, and typically round in shape.
- Atypical Moles
Atypical moles are larger than normal moles, which can be viewed as larger than the size of a pencil eraser. Atypical moles tend to run in families and most people develop a large number of these moles.
- Blue Nevi
Blue Nevi moles get their name from the blue color produced from a melanocytes cluster located deep in the skin. The cluster is generally spindle shaped, and scattered.
- Spitz Nevi
This type of mole is most common in children, and usually appears on the face, primarily the cheeks. The moles are tiny, less than one centimeter in diameter, firm in consistency, raised above skin level, and pink or reddish-brown in color. The texture of this mole can be either smooth or scaly.
Mole types are further classified by appearance. Classifications include:
- Junctional Nevi which is a flat, dark colored mole
- Intradermal Nevi which is raised, and typically skin-toned
- Compound Nevi which are combined junctional and intradermal types. Generally, compound nevi are raised, and brown to black in color. Beauty marks are a type of compound nevi.
Removing Moles on Face
Many people who have moles on their face choose to have them removed for cosmetic reasons.
There are a variety of options to remove facial moles that have been found to be effective, including natural methods and those that involve cosmetic surgery.
Natural methods of removing facial moles generally take longer to work than cosmetic surgery remedies. They are not as effective with large sized moles, or those that are raised above skin level.
Garlic contains enzymes that will break down the skin cell cluster. The procedure for removing moles on the face with garlic is:
- Disinfect mole area
- Place a crushed, fresh garlic clove on the mole.
- Secure the garlic with a bandage and leave on overnight, or a minimum of four hours.
- Repeat daily until the mole falls off naturally.
- Results may be seen in as little as five days.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains acids which force the mole to scab over and eventually fall out. To remove the wart with the application:
- Drench cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and place on mole.
- Secure ball with tape and leave it on overnight.
- Repeat daily.
- Results should be seen in approximately ten days.
- Castor Oil
Castor oil qualifies as a discutient, which means that it will literally dissolve or eliminate moles. This is an effective method to remove moles, but requires a lengthy time period, as the castor oil dissolves one mole layer at a time. The castor oil application process is as follows:
- Mix castor oil with baking soda or ground aspirin.
- Rub the mix on the mole and let it dry naturally.
- Repeat twice daily.
- Results take approximately one month.
Iodine causes cells to die, eliminating the skin cell clusters of the mole. Petroleum jelly can be used around the mole area to avoid the purple staining of iodine applications. To remove a mole with iodine, follow these steps:
- Disinfect mole area and apply a small amount of 5% iodine solution on the mole
- Cover mole with bandage and leave it alone overnight
- Repeat daily
- Results should be visible within two weeks
Cosmetic Surgery Methods
Cosmetic surgery is another option to remove unsightly facial moles. There are three major methods of removal. These include:
- Shaving off mole
For this method, a surgeon uses a scalpel to shave the mole off evenly, or slightly below, skin level. The area is then cauterized to eliminate bleeding. This method is effective for surface moles.
- Excising the mole
In this procedure, the surgeon uses a scalpel to cut out the mole and its surrounding border. Stitches are used to minimize scarring and this procedure is desirable for cosmetically sensitive areas, such as the face.
- Laser treatment
Laser treatment for moles does not involve any cutting and stitches or not used. Lasers are used to seal the blood vessels, and the mole tissue is evaporated.
When to See a Doctor About Moles on Face
The risk of a mole developing into melanoma, is small, approximately one case in 200,000.
Most moles are benign, but it is still a good idea to check moles on a fairly frequent basis. See a doctor if a mole, or moles, exhibit any suspicious symptoms.
Dermatologists have publicized suspicious mole criteria, known as the ABCDEs; an acronym for:
- Asymmetry when one half of the mole doesn’t match the other half
- Border edges that are blurred, ragged, or notched
- Color pigmentation that is mottled with different shades of dark colors intermingled with red, white, or blue hues
- Diameter that is greater than a pencil eraser
- Evolution, or change, in mole characteristics, such as size, shape, color, or surface
Along with the above, have your moles evaluated if they bleed, have a discharge, itch, become sore, or scale over. People should check their moles at least once a month if they have a history of melanoma in their family.
Moles are so common that it is very difficult to find a person without one. Some individuals may have attractive moles that distinguish them, and others may have moles that make them uncomfortable. For those people, mole removal is a completely viable option, and natural and surgical procedures are readily available.