What Is Involved in Beauty Mark Removal?

N. Swensson
N. Swensson
A close up of a beauty mark.
A close up of a beauty mark.

Methods for beauty mark removal can vary depending on the specific characteristics of the beauty mark. Some people refer to moles as beauty marks, and these may need to be shaved, cauterized, or treated with lasers to remove them. Beauty marks that are flat and look like large freckles or age spots can be simpler to take away, because they are usually smaller and do not grow beneath the surface of the skin. Bleaching creams, laser treatments, and chemical peels can often make these dark spots less noticeable or even remove them completely. Some beauty mark removal treatments, such as bleaching creams, can be used at home, while others, like laser treatment and surgeries, are performed by a dermatologist.

A raised beauty mark.
A raised beauty mark.

Surgical options for beauty mark removal include cutting, shaving, or cauterization. For larger moles that will not respond effectively to other treatments, surgery may be the best option. If a mole or beauty mark is large, stitches may be needed, and the procedure can leave a scar. For this reason, some people may prefer to use this treatment for moles that are not located on visible areas of the body. Once a mole has been surgically removed, there is also a chance that it will grow back, and the procedure may need to be repeated several times to be effective. If a mole that has been surgically removed grows back, it should be evaluated by a doctor to make sure it is not cancerous.

Woman with a beauty mark above her upper lip.
Woman with a beauty mark above her upper lip.

Laser beauty mark removal is one of the most effective methods and can be used for moles, age spots, and other skin discolorations. These can be caused by sun overexposure, aging, or natural skin pigmentation. A laser procedure involves removing the topmost layers of damaged skin to reveal healthier skin below. A patient may experience redness and irritation along with other side effects after a laser procedure, and some topical treatment may be necessary. Most of the time, people who choose this type of treatment will need to avoid sun exposure, which can cause beauty marks to come back.

Beauty mark removal may involve cauterization.
Beauty mark removal may involve cauterization.

Topical treatments to remove skin discoloration and age spots are also available, but these are not usually effective on moles. Chemical peels and microdermabrasion treatments remove outer layers of skin to help remove beauty marks and other dark spots along with wrinkles. Patients usually experience little downtime from these procedures, but as with laser treatment, will need to stay out of the sun and be diligent about applying sunscreen.

Bleaching creams are not very effective.
Bleaching creams are not very effective.

Many local drugstores and pharmacies sell bleaching creams over the counter, which are another option for beauty mark removal. Unless the mark is large, however, it can be difficult to apply the cream only where it is needed. If it gets onto the surrounding skin, this skin will also be lightened. In general, bleaching creams are not considered to be as effective as other methods of age spot and mole removal.

Will a Chemical Peel Remove Beauty Marks?

When you're considering options for beauty mark removal, it's helpful to understand the technologies and processes behind those treatments. Chemical peels are no exception. Their benefits largely depend on the type of peel you choose.

Surgical options are available for beauty mark removal.
Surgical options are available for beauty mark removal.

Simply put, a chemical peel removes portions of your skin's outer layers. Chemical peels are typically done by dermatologists and licensed estheticians. You'll encounter three levels of chemical peels: light, moderate and deep. Each of these treats your skin in slightly different ways.

Light Chemical Peels

Light chemical peels are the least strong kind. These usually involve applying alpha or beta hydroxy acids to your skin's surface. You'll typically see glycolic, salicylic, lactic or maleic acid used in light peels. They only exfoliate the epidermis, which is the topmost layer of skin. Superficial peels take about 20 minutes to complete. They're often helpful for fine lines, uneven skin tone, acne and dry skin.

Dermatologists advise allowing up to seven days for your skin to completely heal from a superficial peel. However, you may be able to wear makeup again the next day. Use non-comedogenic moisturizers and don't forget to apply sun protection.

Moderate Chemical Peels

Some skin concerns require more than a superficial chemical peel. Medium-strength chemical peels using trichloroacetic acid, glycolic acid or Jessner's solution may help in such cases. They remove both the epidermis and the upper portion of the dermis, the middle layer of your skin.

Deeper wrinkles, moderate acne scarring and some skin tone unevenness can be corrected with medium-strength peels. Since beauty marks and freckles usually begin in the basal cell layer of the epidermis, TCA peels can significantly reduce their appearance. Freckles can drastically lighten, and beauty marks may diminish or fade altogether.

After a medium peel, your skin will usually peel off for about a week. This process starts within 48 hours as new skin cells generate to replace the old ones. Healing times may vary between individuals, but you should allow up to 14 days for complete recovery.

Deep Chemical Peels

While most skin concerns can be treated with light or medium chemical peels, some require stronger treatment. Deep chemical peels may correct deep wrinkles, precancerous skin growths or extensive scarring. Due to the amount of skin they remove, deep peels are usually done only once in a lifetime.

Deep peels use phenol, a strong acid that requires extreme care in its application and use. Phenol removes both the upper and middle layers of skin, leaving only the innermost layer behind. Due to the potential discomfort involved, clients are usually given sedatives and local anesthetics during a deep peel.

After a deep chemical peel, you'll experience redness, crusting, dryness and discomfort for a few weeks. You may be given painkillers while you're recovering. Swelling reduces after about two weeks, but it may take a few months for your skin to completely heal.

How Much Does It Cost To Remove Beauty Marks?

The total cost to remove beauty marks depends on the method used. Medium-strength chemical peels typically cost between $1,000 and $3,000. Laser treatments price out between $150 to $1,500, depending on the laser therapy method and the number of sessions required. Shaving off a mole, which involves cutting it off at the skin's surface, can cost between $100 to $300. Excision, in which your physician cuts around the mole to remove it, prices anywhere between $300 and $600.

Keep in mind that these prices are out of pocket, assuming no coverage from your health insurance. That's because insurers usually classify beauty mark removal as cosmetic. However, insurance may cover mole removal if it changes size, shape or color. If your doctor removes a mole that poses a threat to your health, the procedure may also qualify for insurance reimbursement. Depending on your mole's characteristics, your doctor may order a tissue biopsy to confirm that it's not cancerous.

How To Remove Beauty Marks Without Surgery

Whether you're targeting minor hyperpigmented spots or actual moles, most of these can be rectified without major surgery. Medium-strength chemical peels are outpatient procedures performed at medical spas and dermatologists' offices. These require some caution in their application and post-peel recovery, but they do not involve surgery at all.

Laser mole removal is also not considered major surgery. Treatments are conducted during office visits. Your practitioner directs bursts of light at each mole to break up the skin cells inside. The surrounding skin remains intact and unaffected. Your skin may form scabs where your moles use to be, but there's no downtime with laser mole removal.

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Discussion Comments

anon1007388

What’s a bleaching cream? What are the specific ingredients? Do they work?

Mor

@pleonasm - I don't think it's that much of a big deal. As I understand it one of the common methods of birth mark and mole removal is to just numb the area locally and basically shave off the mark.

It's not all that different from having someone slice it off with a scalpel.

I wouldn't have it done myself unless I had something that was being irritated or something, but as cosmetic surgery goes it's not that big of a deal.

pleonasm

@irontoenail - I don't think many surgeons would consent to that without a consultation with a dermatologist, particularly if the removal was from the face. If something goes wrong, I'm not sure if they would be liable or what would happen. And it's always possible that a mole is cancerous, in which case removing the outside wouldn't do much for what is growing underneath.

On the other hand, beauty mark removal can cost quite a lot, so if you can manage to get a decent surgeon to agree to do this on the back of another surgery it's not a terrible option.

I just don't think many surgeons would be willing to take the risk.

irontoenail

I don't know if this is common, but when my father went into surgery to have a hernia repaired, he asked the doctor to take off a couple of raised spots on his face while he was under.

I don't think they were dark spots, just raised bits of skin, so maybe facial mole removal would require more process if there was more pigmentation, but it seemed to work for my dad.

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    • A close up of a beauty mark.
      A close up of a beauty mark.
    • A raised beauty mark.
      By: paulandlara
      A raised beauty mark.
    • Woman with a beauty mark above her upper lip.
      By: donatellina
      Woman with a beauty mark above her upper lip.
    • Beauty mark removal may involve cauterization.
      By: starman963
      Beauty mark removal may involve cauterization.
    • Bleaching creams are not very effective.
      By: volff
      Bleaching creams are not very effective.
    • Surgical options are available for beauty mark removal.
      By: Fly_dragonfly
      Surgical options are available for beauty mark removal.