Moles are clusters of cells that form on the surface of the skin. They can be many colors, depending on the type and amount of pigmentation they contain. Though some can indicate a serious medical concern, most are benign. However, even when they don't pose a health problem, they can be unsightly, and some people prefer to remove them. There are a few choices for doing so.
Medical Options for Removing Moles
There are many medical treatments for moles available. These include shaving, surgical removal, freezing, or burning with electrical current, radio waves, or lasers. Each treatment comes with some amount of pain and risk, though most are minimal. This is generally the most expensive form of treatment and can sometimes result in scarring.
Several prescription and over-the-counter medications are also available. Many mole removal ointments contain acids at higher concentrations than in natural remedies, so you should apply them with extreme care. Some require a prescription, but you can purchase lower strengths without one. There are also skin lighteners marketed to lighten the pigment, but do nothing to the raised lump, of the mole.
Home Remedies: The Natural Way
For centuries people used home remedies to treat minor conditions, such as skin imperfections like moles. Often, medical professionals develop treatments based on home remedies that people have passed down for generations. Here are the commonly used methods:
Pineapple and Sea Salt - If you've felt the burn of pineapple on your tongue, you know that this fruit contains acid. By adding sea salt, you're able to combine the mole dissolving power of the acid with a coarse scrub that will rub away the softened upper layers.
Iodine - This can be a better option for people with sensitive skin. It's not going to burn like some of the acidic home remedies can. A 5% iodine solution is the best concentration to maximize effectiveness and minimize skin irritation.
Honey - For thousands of years, people used honey to dress wounds. Its natural antibiotic, antiseptic and healing properties can soften the skin and allow the mole to soften and fade away.
Garlic - Many people are aware of the dietary benefits of this plant. The skin healing properties of its cloves, however, are less known. Its enzymes can break down the clusters of cells that make up the mole and lighten the pigmentation over time.
Castor Oil and Baking Soda - This treatment has been used for generations. The castor oil is able to penetrate the layers of the mole and break apart the clumped cells and the baking soda helps the oil adhere to the skin and enhances its effectiveness
Aloe Vera - The nectar of this plant is widely known to have skin moisturizing and healing properties. One chemical in natural aloe gel, called aloe-emodin, is known to have anti-tumor properties, which makes it useful for removing benign skin tumors, or growths, such as moles.
Sour Apple Juice - The sour taste in apples comes from the acids in them. It's a relatively mild acid, so it's safe to apply to moles, but you should still be careful to avoid contact with surrounding skin, to avoid unnecessary irritation.
Apple Cider Vinegar - This is an ingredient used in many home remedies. It contains mild acids that can dissolve the mole over time. Apply it carefully to the mole, avoiding the surrounding skin.
Some Words of Caution
Some of these remedies contain acids which, while brief skin exposure may not be damaging, could cause irritation with prolonged exposure. It's important to limit skin contact to no more than 10 or 15 minutes. If you have particularly sensitive skin, you can apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the skin around the mole, prior to treatment.
The length of time needed to lighten or dissolve a mole can vary from one person to another. No home remedy is going to be as fast-acting as prescription medication or medical treatments. However, if you prefer the convenience and cost-effectiveness of natural remedies, these treatments warrant checking out.