Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Does mole removal cream work?"
Do mole removal creams really work? I've got a mole on my cheek that I really don't like, and I've seen over-the-counter creams that are supposed to get rid of moles - but I'm suspicious. If they do work, are these creams safe and do they have any side effects?
Moles, also known as nevi, are a common medical problem. Sometimes, although rarely, they require medical treatment. The physicians best qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care physician and your dermatologist. Moles, or nevi, are generally benign spots on the skin that are caused by small collections of pigmented skin cells, called melanocytes, grouped together under the skin. Occasionally moles are caused genetically, but usually they are acquired as the skin ages. There is no specific treatment for moles. There is no good medical evidence that mole-removing creams are effective, and they can be very expensive and also damaging to the skin due to harsh chemicals. The most important treatment for moles is preventing damage to the skin, for example due to repeated exposure to the sun, as these will cause more moles to accumulate. Rarely, moles can transform themselves into malignant melanoma, which is a serious form of skin cancer. Moles that are growing rapidly in size, that have irregular borders, that are larger than about 6 mm, or that have a variegated color appears are more concerning and should be evaluated by your physician. As always, the diagnosis and management of your specific condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an office visit with your primary care physician or your dermatologist is recommended.
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