According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a mole is a pigmented mark, spot or small permanent protuberance on the human body. It is usually black, brown or dark brown in color and appears in any area in your body.
Generally, moles are harmless. Think of it as an accessory that defines who you are and gives you an identity separate from other people. However, there are instances wherein moles, especially those that are irregular in shape and continuously grow, can indicate that there might be something wrong going on in your body.
Regardless of the status of your mole, harmless or cancerous, there are people who prefer to get rid of them rather than keeping them. In that case, mole removal surgery is your best option.
What Is Mole Removal Surgery?
Mole removal surgery is a type of procedure where the doctor removes your mole due to a variety of reasons. There are two ways to do this, including:
- Excision, or cutting with or without stitches. This is the most common procedure performed by dermatologists to remove moles.
- Shave removal, which involves the use of scalpel blade without stitches.
Before the procedure, the doctor will clean the area using alcohol, Betadine and the like. Then, the doctor will apply an anesthetic to numb the area. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes.
If you use the shave removal method, the doctor will use a scalpel to shave the mole slightly below skin level. Then the area will either be cauterized or burned to stop the bleeding.
If the doctor opts for excision, she will remove the mole by cutting the mole and a border that surrounds the mole area. The size of the border removed will depend on whether the mole is cancerous or not to ensure that the mole is excised completely. Thereafter, the doctor will stitch the area either deep or on the upper surface of the skin. One of the side effects of going through this procedure is the possibility of scarring. To reduce your risk, here are tips and tricks you can do to prevent scarring after mole removal surgery.
1. Aftercare Treatment
This is one of the most important things you need to pay attention to – proper wound care. You might think that moles are small enough not to produce scars. Of course not. Regardless of the size of your surgical wound, scarring could be inevitable.
Therefore, make sure to listen and follow your dermatologist’s aftercare instructions. She will provide you with specific instructions on how to clean the wound, change the dressing and when to take antibiotics. She will also provide you with all the information you need for aftercare and tips on how to prevent scarring.
Also, take note on when you will come back for the after-surgery checkup. This way, she could check to see if the stitches are still intact or there are infections that need treatment.
2. Keep The Wound Clean
This is why you need to listen to your doctor’s aftercare instructions. You must keep the wound clean at all times to prevent infection, bacteria and other harmful substances from getting in.
To clean the wound, use water or dab it with hydrogen peroxide to reduce bacteria and debris. At the same time, cleaning the wound reduces your body’s inflammatory responses and minimizes possible infections.
Moisturizing your skin is important. If you had mole removal surgery or any other cosmetic surgery done, moisturizing your skin, particularly the wounded area plays a crucial role in the scar formation.
Did you know that dry skin could make you more susceptible to scars? If you don’t want a bump that stays with you forever, then you need to moisturize. Apply cocoa butter, petroleum jelly or shea butter four to six times everyday to keep your skin supple and hydrated. However, don’t moisturize the day after the surgery. You need to keep the wounded area as clean as possible and applying moisturizers won’t help. Only moisturize once the wound formed a scab.
4. Use Scar Treatment Cream
Scar formation is one of the common concerns among people who go through surgical procedures. In this case, your doctor could provide you with a scar treatment cream to prevent scarring.
This scar treatment cream usually contains natural ingredients such as onion extract, which are effective in preventing and treating scars.
Apply scar treatment cream two to three times daily for 12 weeks, or as recommended by your doctor.
5. Massage The Area
This is one of the cardinal rules in scar prevention. In fact, there are number of studies that show the benefits of massaging the surgical wound. This is because daily massaging increases blood circulation in the affected area.
If this happens, the necessary blood and nutrients needed by your body to heal faster will reach the wound easily. This means lesser risks of scarring.
Massage the area for at least two minutes everyday. Use a lotion or moisturizer to avoid friction on the area. Make sure to apply firm pressure on the area, too.
6. Be Healthy
Yes, what you eat and drink plays a major role in preventing scars. Keep in mind that your skin will show how healthy you are. Therefore, a healthy skin means you are less likely to get a scar, although there is still no guarantee that you will be scar-free after operation.
Nevertheless, there is no harm in kicking unhealthy lifestyle habits and sticking to the good ones. To minimize the possibility of scarring, make sure to keep yourself hydrated at all times.
Six to eight glasses of water is enough to keep you hydrated. The more hydrated you are, the healthier your skin will be, which makes you far less likely to scar. If you’re not into pure water, add lemon or cucumber in it for more flavor. You can also drink seltzer water for a fizzy drink.
Aside from water, your diet is also crucial to prevent the formation of scars. Make sure that you supply your body with enough vitamins, minerals and right amounts of fats such as Omega 3s and monounsaturated fats. If your body gets enough supply of nutrients needed for healing, then there is a lower possibility of scarring.
Therefore, add a generous amount of vegetables, citrus fruits, nuts, olive oil and seeds to your daily diet to minimize scar formation.
7. Stay Away From Intense Physical Activities
You might say, “Moles are too small. Why can’t I exercise?” Good question.
Surgery is still surgery, no matter how small or minor the procedure is. When you go through mole removal surgery, this means your doctor removes a certain part of your body and stitches it up to make it whole again.
This follows that you need to spare yourself from any intense physical activities a few weeks after the surgery.
Why is that?
Intense exercise puts too much pressure on your body. This could trigger your wound to re-open, or tear your stitches. At the same time, physical activities makes you sweat, which could come in contact and affect the wound. You need to keep the area clean and infection-free at all times, which means sweating is out of the question.
8. Avoid Sun Exposure
Don’t underestimate mole removal surgery. It may not be a matter of life and death, but it requires proper after care treatment if you don’t want to deal with scars for the rest of your life. When it comes to preventing scars, avoiding Mr. Sun until the area is healed completely is advisable.
The sun’s UV rays damage the skin, which delays the healing process. This increases the likelihood of scarring – a skin problem you don’t want to deal with long after surgery.
If you have to be under the sun, make sure to use a sunscreen with a very high SPF to protect the area against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. You also need a sunscreen during the winter season, too. The sun is still there, waiting for its chance to penetrate into your skin.
9. Try Silicone Scar Sheets
This is one of the simplest yet effective scar prevention tools available on the market. You only need to place the silicone scar sheet on the affected area for 12 hours, or according to the recommended time indicated in the label. This helps flatten the scar and make it less noticeable. The effect of silicone scar sheets is don’t take place overnight. In fact, it may take months before you notice the changes in the scar’s appearance. Be patient.
10. Work With Your Doctor
Mole removal surgery doesn’t stop with getting rid of the mole. Aside from the aftercare instructions, you need to go back to your doctor to check how the area looks, and to determine if there are any infections.
Pay your doctor a visit even after the surgery. If your notice something unusual in the area such as bleeding, pain, infection or numbness, let her see it again. Don’t put everything in your own hands. Your doctor is there to help you and make sure that your skin is free from blemishes.
In case you went through mole removal surgery, take note of these 10 tips and you will surely prevent scars from forming on your skin afterwards.