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A blot on the landscape

Published on April 20, 2015 by

The problem with moles is that they are usually dark and often proud of the skin so normal make-up concealer doesn’t cover them up.  They can grow to be quite prominent and new ‘mole owners’ can be very, very self-conscious about this lump showing.

If your mole is on your face it’s impossible to hide – back in the 60s Anita Harris turned her mole into a feature, but then beauty spots were in at the time.  These days she uses make-up to try and blend it in (maybe someone should introduce her to us!) – but it’s still visible.

If you’re a man and you’ve got a mole on your face you’ll have a daily battle to avoid nicking it when shaving – or you could just grow a beard, but today’s neat and tidy beards mean it will probably still be visible, even if it’s hiding in the ‘undergrowth’!

The other places that moles can be really annoying is anywhere that catches on clothing, under bra straps, anywhere around the collar line, waistbands or around the tops of your legs where pants and swimsuits sit. 

The problem is that, whilst a mole usually isn’t sore, constant friction or pulling can cause them to become sore and maybe bleed – let alone the irritation caused by constantly having to make allowances for them.

Can my GP help?

If you have a mole that is changing shape or colour, or you have a new mole it’s definitely worth getting your Doctor to check it out.  Some moles are a manifestation of skin cancer, but only a tiny percentage.  Most of the time there is nothing to worry about, but it’s better to check than to wish you had when things have progressed.

If your GP has assessed your mole as being benign there’s really nothing more that the NHS can do.  Removing moles is considered to be a cosmetic procedure, unless you can persuade your Doctor that it’s affecting your lifestyle significantly.

From our experience the GPs in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire (most of our patients come from the nearby towns of Harpenden, Luton and St Albans) won’t carry out mole removal for NHS patients.

What are my options?

There are several ways of getting rid of moles.  Our patients usually let our doctor decide which is the best treatment for their particular mole.

Most moles can be frozen with a cryopen treatment and fall off within a few days.  Stubborn moles can take a couple of treatments.

Depending on the size, shape and location of your mole your consultant may suggest laser treatment, this works by killing the cells that form the mole so it dies and the cells literally fall away.

If you have a skin coloured mole that stands proud of your skin, it can be shaved down to skin level so it is just a smooth area of your skin.  This would be done after the area had been numbed to ensure you don’t feel any pain.

The extreme solution is surgery, but it is very minor surgery under a local anaesthetic, so you don’t feel anything and the site is rarely sore and heals quickly with one or two stitches to aid the natural repair process.

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