Cosmetic Mole Removal: Treatment Options from NYC's Top Mole Removal Specialist
Dermatologist specializing in safe & effective cosmetic mole removal in NYC
Removing MOles Safely with Aesthetically Elegant Outcomes
Cosmetic mole removal involves safely removing unwanted moles on the skin while minimizing scarring near the excision. It is an outpatient surgical procedure that is typically done by a dermatologic surgeon or plastic surgeon. Mole removal procedures are regularly performed at Wall Street Dermatology by Dr. Julia Tzu, who is a surgical and cosmetic dermatologist in NYC specializing in cosmetic dermatology involving scar revision, skin reconstruction, and laser treatments.
Covered In This Mole Removal Guide for NYC:
- What Causes Moles?
- Types of Moles
- Difference between Moles, Cysts & Skin Tags
- Mole Removal Before & After
- Mole Removal Costs in NYC
- Mole Removal Results
- Types of Mole Removal Procedures
- Dermatologic Surgeon vs. Plastic Surgeon for Mole Removal
- Mole Removal Considerations
- Taking the Next Steps on Mole Removal
- Mole Removal Frequently-Asked Questions
Introduction to Cosmetic Mole Removal
Benign moles are a common occurrence found in the majority of the population, and its removal is typically not considered medically necessary. However, if you are not pleased with the appearance of your mole or choose to remove it for personal preference, moles can be safely and effectively removed for cosmetic reasons.
Here at Wall Street Dermatology we can offer expert benign mole removal in NYC via an individualized approach.
Dermatologist Dr. Julia Tzu on Cosmetic Mole Removal
“Cosmetic mole removal is one of my favorite procedures because of how satisfying its outcome can be to patients who have waited too long to remove an unsightly mole. Mole removal can be performed via a variety of modalities, and I always seek to find the least invasive option to provide the best cosmetic outcome. However, even when the only option is surgery, mole removal can still result in imperceptible scarring because of special surgical techniques and equipment I utilize.”- Dr. Julia Tzu, MD, FAAD
Why Choose Dr. Julia Tzu for Mole Removal?
- One of the most experienced mole removal surgeons in NYC with 10,000+ mole removal performed
- Glowing reviews on Google & Yelp
- Top-of-the-line cosmetic outcomes (see Before & After)
- Full range of mole removal procedures performed (laser, shave, surgical excision)
- Academic credentials: Stanford undergrad, MD from Johns Hopkins, University of Miami dermatology residency, clinical fellowships from NYU & University of Pennsylvania (skin surgery & cosmetic dermatology)
- Clinical Assistant Professor at NYU School of Medicine since 2012
- Castle Connolly “Top Doctor” since 2015
- Cosmetic Advisory Board at IT Cosmetics (L’Oreal)
- Easy online scheduling. Book anytime.
Why Pay More for a Plastic Surgeon?
Exceptional cosmetic outcomes from a world-class dermatologic surgeon specializing in the skin at more reasonable rates than plastic surgeon
What Causes Moles?
Benign moles appear due to a variety of factors, with the most common being a combination of environment and genetics. Those with a family history of moles are more likely to develop them, and factors like age and sun exposure can contribute to their formation.
While most moles are of no medical concern, new or existing moles that change color or shape may warrant immediate evaluation. At Wall Street Dermatology, we’ll help you determine if mole removal is in your best interest.
Mole Removal Before and After
How Much Does Mole Removal Cost in NYC?
At Wall Street Dermatology, the mole removal cost in NYC is typically $650 to $3000 per treatment session of each mole removed. Out of pocket mole removal costs depends on the size and location of the mole, and the complexity of the technique utilized for removal. Because the procedure is considered cosmetic and elective, mole removal is not covered by health insurance. Multiple sessions may occasionally be required to get to the optimal cosmetic outcome on the mole removed. To get a more accurate estimate of your mole removal cost, schedule a consultation with Wall Street Dermatology today.
Types of Moles
Moles, also known as nevi (nevus, singular) can come in many forms, with classification based on when moles develop in life and how they appear clinically and under the microscope. Whether for medical or cosmetic reasons, Wall Street Dermatology treats many different types of moles, so you can get the help you need no matter what.
Below are some of the most common types of moles we treat with mole removal in NYC.
Atypical or Dysplastic Nevus
Atypical moles, also referred to as dysplastic moles, are defined by their unusual features when viewed under a microscope. Clinically, they can have irregular borders, inconsistent pigmentation, asymmetrical, or appear bumpy or raised in an irregular way. Atypical moles are common and considered benign, but individuals with them should take care as they can be a marker for increased risk of melanoma.
If a person has more than 50 of these moles, they may be at higher risk for skin cancer, and a biopsy can be performed to assess whether an irregular appearing mole is actually atypical or dysplastic. Some biopsy proven atypical or dysplastic nevi may need to be completely surgically removed as they are considered “precancerous”.
Spitz nevus moles are a rare kind of non-cancerous growth that can occur anywhere on the body. These moles are defined by their domed shape and reddish-brown pigmentation, and have been known to grow quickly and then not grow at all for a long period of time. While Spitz nevus moles are considered benign, many dermatologists feel that they should be surgically removed due to its unusual appearance under the microscope, and thereby avoid potential confusion with melanoma.
While some of the moles that a person will have appear at birth, acquired moles are ones that have formed after birth. This is a common occurrence, so common that acquired moles are also referred to as “common moles,” and in most cases, they are no cause for concern. These moles have benign features including a round shape, symmetry, smooth borders, homogenous color, and small overall size.
While not medically concerning, these moles are often removed for cosmetic reasons.
Congenital moles, often commonly referred to as “birthmarks”, are moles that form within the first year of a baby’s birth. Congenital moles only occur in 1-2% of the population. They can be found on any part of the body, and although benign, they should be monitored for potential signs of melanoma.
Congenital nevi may sometimes be perceived as unsightly and removed for cosmetic reasons.
Difference Between Mole vs. Cyst vs. Skin Tag
Identifying different skin lesions can be difficult for the untrained eye. Moles, cysts, and skin tags are some of the most common lesions people notice on their skin, and although they may share many similarities, they have a handful of distinct differences.
Beginning with moles, these skin lesions come in many different sizes and variations of skin colored to brown. They can be raised from the skin or flat, and appear almost anywhere on the body. Moles are usually harmless, but they can be removed for aesthetic reasons, or if the mole is in an area that experiences frequent friction.
Whereas moles grow above the skin, cysts grow under it. Cysts can be unsightly and sometimes painful, but they are usually non cancerous. They often contain fluids or other solid substances that can be drained to reduce the size of or surgically excised to eliminate the cyst.
Skin tags can often be mistaken for a mole, but the key difference is they are fleshy growths that “dangle” from the skin by a thin stalk. They can vary in length and width and often appear in areas of high friction, like under the arms. Hormonal changes can also affect the formation of skin tags, but they are usually harmless when they do form.
Mole Removal Aftercare & Recovery
Recovery for most mole removals is simple and brief, and patients often return to their daily routine immediately following a procedure. For laser and shave mole removal procedures, mole removal aftercare involves applying vaseline and a bandage for 7 to 14 days, after which point the treatment site should be mostly healed. Mole removal excision requires sutures following the procedure, and in the 2 weeks after surgery, exercise should be avoided to prevent reopening the wound.
Mole Removal Results
The results of mole removal can vary depending on the procedure that was performed, but most patients should notice the disappearance of their mole immediately following their procedure.
Following a shave mole removal, patients should notice that their mole has completely disappeared, flattened, or significantly reduced in size. This method of removal can be effective for superficial moles, but for moles that travel deeper under the skin, they may reappear over time.
Surgical mole removal is meant to be a permanent solution for larger and deeper moles, as the goal is to remove them at the base. So long as all of the mole tissue has been removed and there is a border of normal tissue around the excision site, the mole should not recur.
Laser mole removal can be an effective way to completely remove superficially located moles, although incomplete removal and recurrence is still possible. Once the treatment area has healed, patients should notice the mole and resulting pigmentation has lightened.
Types of Mole Removal Procedures
Cosmetic mole removal can be accomplished by three main methods–shave removal, surgical excision, and laser. The choice of which method to use to accomplish the best cosmetic outcome will be determined by the type of mole, the size of the mole, the color of the mole, the location of the mole, and the individual’s skin type. An experienced board certified dermatologic surgeon will consider all of these elements in formulating the best plan to remove your mole
Surgical Shave Mole Removal
Shave mole removal is a minimally invasive surgical technique in which the mole is surgically sculpted down to blend in seamlessly with the surrounding skin. It can be used to remove small, superficial moles (junctional nevus) or small, fleshy protuberant moles (intradermal nevus). While this is a simpler and faster procedure compared to traditional mole removal surgery, there is a higher chance that the mole can recur if the mole has a deeper component (“roots”) . The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and takes approximately 5 minutes. Follow-up care involves only vaseline and a bandage for 7 to 14 days. Sutures are not used with this method, so you may return to your normal daily activities sooner than traditional surgical mole removal.
Surgical Mole Removal Excision
Traditional surgical excision of a mole is reserved for larger and deeper moles called compound and intradermal nevi. Compared with shave removal, mole removal surgery is a lengthier and technically more complex procedure. The skin around the mole is first numbed with an injection of local anesthesia. The mole is then surgically excised all the way down to the subcutaneous layer to ensure its complete removal. The excisonal wound is then carefully closed with sutures, which are removed in 1-2 weeks. The method of closure, also called skin reconstruction, may range from simple to complex depending on the location of the mole removal surgery. The entire procedure usually takes about 30 minutes. Follow-up care involves only vaseline and a bandage for 7 to 14 days. You can go home immediately after your mole removal surgery but are advised to avoid exercise for 2 weeks to prevent reopening the wound.
During laser mole removal, your dermatologist uses precision-targeted bursts of light to break down the mole. This technique effectively removes the mole without harming the surrounding skin. It’s most often used to remove superficial, non-cancerous moles in sensitive or visible areas like the ears, neck, or face.
Depending on the size and the depth of the mole, it may take several sessions for moles to be completely removed with laser treatment. The procedure takes just a few minutes and requires no downtime. Patients may be instructed to apply petroleum jelly or another ointment to the area for several days following the procedure.
It’s important to note that laser mole removal is contraindicated for moles that are irregular or which may be cancerous. Before beginning this treatment, the moles you’d like to remove should be deemed completely benign by an experienced board-certified dermatologist.
Mole Shaving vs. Excision
Moles are most commonly removed via a superficial removal called a “shave removal” or a deeper surgical removal that involves sutures. While shave removals are a quicker and less costly procedure, it can leave the base of the mole remaining. This means that when the shave wound heals, the brown discoloration can recur at the base and the mole can eventually reform again. True surgical removal requires more sophisticated techniques, are more time consuming to perform, and are more costly, but remove the mole completely so that probability of recurrence is reduced.
Which cosmetic mole removal procedure is best depends on an assessment of the depth of the mole, patient’s personal goals, and the location of the mole. There are certainly instances in which a shave removal provides the best outcome and there are instances when a surgical removal provides the best outcome. During your mole removal consultation, Dr. Tzu will listen to your specific concerns and formulate with you the best treatment strategy depending on your individual goals and other limiting factors.
Dermatologic Surgeon vs. Plastic Surgeon for Mole Removal
Mole removals are generally done by specialized cosmetic dermatologists or plastic surgeons. Dermatologic surgeons are specialists whose sole professional focus is medically diagnosing skin growths, tailoring the type of skin surgery to the type of skin growth, and optimizing scarring outcomes on the skin. There is no other medical specialist more experienced and focused on understanding the biology of skin growths and its removal as well as improving scarring outcomes of the skin than dermatologic surgeons. While plastic surgeons are experts in cosmetic enhancements overall, cosmetic skin surgery is only a partial subset of the types of cosmetic procedures they routinely perform. Scarring from many of the more invasive surgical cosmetic body procedures is only a secondary consideration. If going to a specialist with the most amount of expertise and experience is important to you, you may want to consider seeing a dermatologic surgeon over a plastic surgeon for skin surgery.
Top Considerations in Cosmetic Mole Removal
Special message from Dr. Julia Tzu
I frequently see patients who have waited, for too long, to remove an unsightly mole on their face or body. Their story is usually the same–they saw another dermatologist or physician in the past who advised against mole removal because the removal would most certainly leave a large post-surgical scar. However, these patients still remained secretly wishful that one day, someone could remove their mole without the severe consequences that they were previously warned about. Patients would bashfully ask me at my practice whether removing their mole could possibly result in a decent cosmetic outcome, and my answer is usually “yes”. There are actually many methods to remove moles that result in aesthetically elegant outcomes.
From my 15+ years as a dermatologic surgeon and cosmetic expert treating a variety of medical and cosmetic skin concerns, it’s not just about removing the mole, but also listening and understanding the concerns of each patient in making the decision to treat and how. From a technical standpoint, knowing which method to utilize depends on body location, skin type, and type of mole.
Before and after of a mole removal above the eyelid performed by Dr. Tzu.
Here are some of the top considerations that I ask our patients to consider when deciding on mole removal:
#1 What kind of mole or skin growth is it?
The word “mole” is a medically nonspecific term, but is often taken to be the equivalent of what dermatologists refer to as a “benign nevus’. When evaluating a mole, it is important to consider the following:
- Contour: Is it flat or raised?
- Color: Is it light brown or very dark?
- Location: Is it located on a difficult/delicate area like the eyelids, lips, or nose?
- Evolution: Is this a new mole? Is it rapidly changing in appearance? Suspicious changes to a mole may warrant a medical biopsy first, as determined by your dermatologist.
A benign nevus is usually removed via surgical excision, shave removal, or laser (in some cases). The actual method of removal will depend on a careful evaluation of the above factors, along with patient preference.
Sometimes, what patients refer to as “moles” may actually be diagnosed as skin tags, sun spots, or seborrheic keratoses by the dermatologist. These types of growths are often removed differently from a benign nevus.
#2 Are newly-acquired moles a symptom of something more?
Normal, healthy individuals may continue to develop new moles throughout their lives, with many located in sun exposed areas. People with lighter skin tones generally have anywhere from 10 to 40 moles on their skin.
However, it is recommended that you have your dermatologist evaluate new moles to make sure they are not cancerous.
#3 Do home remedies and topical solutions work?
Any mole or growth should be evaluated by a dermatologist and be given a benign or noncancerous diagnosis first before cosmetic removal can be considered. Therefore it is recommended that moles not be removed yourself without approval by a dermatologist, and the method of removal is medically significant.
The biggest misconception that people have about removing moles is that self-treatment or treatment by a non-physician is acceptable because of the incorrect assumption that visible removal means complete removal. If a mole turned out to be a cancerous growth and was removed by improper methods, it will continue to persist and potentially spread to surrounding tissue and distant organs. Therefore, proper dermatologic diagnosis is critical to determining the proper method of its removal.
In short, don’t self treat your moles and don’t go to a salon to remove your moles. This can be dangerous to your health. Go see a dermatologist. It’s worth it.
#4 How many moles are you removing?
Some moles can be removed in multiplicity in one session. However, there are also moles that require highly skilled surgical removal and cannot be performed in bulk sessions. During your mole removal consultation, your dermatologist can discuss with you the numbers of moles that can be safely and optimally removed in one treatment session.
#5 Where is the location of your moles?
Moles on the face tend to require more skilled surgical removal by virtue of its cosmetically sensitive location. Moles located on the eyelids, nose, lips, and ears in particular, can be more surgically challenging and will require a higher order of skill to remove in a cosmetically optimum fashion. Thankfully, there are a number of advanced surgical techniques that can be employed to optimize outcomes.
#6 How does the mole make you feel?
Does the mole impact your ability to display your inner confidence? Sometimes a large mole located on a highly visible part of the body, such as the nose or the cheek may cause anxiety and loss of self-confidence. You may have conditioned yourself to live with an unwanted mole.
It’s important that you understand that moles can be safely and effectively removed with good cosmetic outcomes. Don’t let the fear of surgery or a scar prevent you from discussing your concern with a dermatologist who is well versed in mole removal. You may be surprised at how easily and beautifully your mole can be removed with the proper techniques.
Facial mole removed adjacent to the nose performed by Dr. Tzu at Wall Street Dermatology.
Take the Next Steps on Mole Removal
The biggest and most transformative step for prospective patients interested in mole removal is simply making an appointment with an experienced dermatologic surgeon to discuss their cosmetic concerns. If you’ve been living with an unwanted mole for longer than you would like, I encourage you to see an expertly-trained specialist like myself who can guide you on what moles can be removed, how it will be removed, and discuss expected outcomes, risks, costs, and recovery time. I’m one of a few dermatologists who specialize in cosmetic mole removal at my practice. I have removed moles for both cosmetic and medical reasons for well over ten thousand patients, and it is honestly one of the more satisfying procedures that I do because of the permanent gratification that it provides my patients.
You may not need to live with that unwanted mole for much longer.
Schedule a MOle Removal Consultation Today
You can schedule a visit with Dr. Julia Tzu, a dermatologist in NYC, and her experience team at Wall Street Dermatology to explore further with us. If you are interested in exploring a cosmetic mole removal procedure in NYC, you can book a cosmetic consultation with Dr. Tzu for a 1:1 session to explore possible mole removal procedures. We’d love to explore how we may be able to restore the natural beauty of your skin.
Mole Removal FAQ
Mole removal recovery is quick and stress-free, with recovery taking no more than two weeks for most procedures. During this time, aftercare includes applying vaseline to the treatment area and keeping any wounds bandaged.
Mole removal will often leave a scar immediately after the treated area has healed, but it is possible for these scars to improve over time. Mole shave and laser removal will usually create less significant scarring than an excision, and the proper aftercare should keep any scarring from remaining too noticeable.
Most mole removal techniques are meant to be permanent solutions to a wide variety of mole types, but there are certainly cases where a mole may come back. Mole shave removal and laser treatments are effective at reducing and sometimes eliminating the appearance of a mole, but deeper moles can come back if the base is not removed. Mole excision is the most reliable method of permanent mole removal, as it is meant to remove everything, including the base.
Mole removal is a minor surgery involving the skin only, so the risk of nerve damage is very low. A professional dermatologic surgeon should be able to minimize nerve damage and ensure that every aspect of the mole removal process goes smoothly.
Anyone who is unhappy with the appearance of their mole and seeks cosmetic enhancement should consider cosmetic mole removal. Cosmetic mole removal can be performed on most individuals, as long as there is no severe medical condition that would prevent a minor elective procedure. However, because cosmetic mole removal is considered medically unnecessary, it is not covered by insurance.