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Laser Birthmark & Mole Removal

Moles and birthmarks are generally harmless, but many people choose to have them removed either because they do not like how they look or because their Clinician is concerned that the mole could become cancerous.

Removing a mole or treating a small birthmark is usually a simple procedure. Cosmetic laser mole and birthmark treatments are generally done privately, but if there is a medical requirement for the treatment it can be requested via the NHS.

The Treatment

Laser birthmark & mole removal is a relatively new treatment which is less invasive than other treatments such as electrocautery for moles or skin grafts for birthmarks. Laser treatment makes birthmarks lighter so that they are less obvious, but it does not always completely remove them.

Laser mole removal strips away the mole using a high-frequency laser system that generates a lot of heat. These lasers can remove common moles and simple compound naevi. Because the skin is not actually cut, healing times are short and there is a far lower risk of infection or scarring.

Possible Side Effects

Laser birthmark & mole removal is a non-invasive procedure. It is usually carried out under local anaesthetic as an outpatient treatment. Side effects are generally minor and may include:

  • Bruising of the treated area
    The bruising usually fades after one or two weeks.
  • Pain
    While the treatment is less painful than having a mole frozen or cut off, some pain is normal. Your doctor may provide you with oral painkillers to reduce the discomfort.
  • Increased sensitivity to light
    You should cover your skin or use a strong sunblock for at least six months after the treatment.

Who Can Have These Treatments?

Laser birthmark removal works best on younger skin. Some birthmarks, such as port-wine marks, are hard to remove but younger skin responds better to laser treatment. Adults may attempt to have birthmarks removed, but if the birthmark is bumpy or raised then it may still be very noticeable after the treatment.

Moles are easier to treat and generally respond well to laser surgery. However, before having a mole removed you should see your doctor or dermatologist so that they can examine it and confirm that it is just a common mole and not melanoma. Your doctor may want to do a biopsy before referring you to a dermatologist.

After Care

After your laser treatment, you should take good care of your skin. Wash the treated area with a mild soap and pat it gently to dry it. Do not rub the skin, or used perfumed soaps, because your skin will be sensitive for a while after the treatment.

Your doctor may give you some antibiotic cream to prevent infection. Apply the cream as directed and then cover your skin with a non-adhesive dressing. Change the dressing regularly until the wound has healed. You should be able to go back to normal day-to-day activities quite quickly after your treatment, but should avoid sunbathing or anything that is likely to damage your skin.

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