As a medical spa and cosmetic laser center, our focus at Laser Lights is on helping our patients look their best, and much of this involves reducing or removing something they don’t want: age spots, wrinkles, tattoos, body or facial hair, and much more. Here’s an important note, though: each of these imperfections needs to be removed in its own precise way. In fact, even each laser procedure is unique, using different types of lasers, different settings, etc. to treat different issues. Today, our experts are clarifying two procedures that patients often confuse: freckle removal and mole removal.
The Difference between Moles and Freckles
In order to understand how to get rid of moles and freckles, you first need to understand what they are and how they differ from each other. While both are typically brown spots on the skin, freckles are generally small and flat, while moles are raised and can be any size. Here’s a basic anatomy lesson for you: everyone’s skin contains melanocytes—cells that produce pigment. The amount of pigment your melanocytes produce affects your skin color. This is the key to freckles and moles: freckles are spots of excess pigment in your skin, while moles are actually clumps of the melanocytes themselves.
Mole Removal vs. Freckle Removal
Knowing the difference between moles and freckles, you can understand why they have to be removed in different ways—because treating a mole involves removing actual cells, while treating a freckle just requires removing pigment. Of course, freckles are the easier ones to remove, and we perform laser freckle removal right here in our Laser Lights office. We use a specific type of laser which is attracted to the pigment in freckles. When all the energy from the laser goes into the pigment particles, it bursts them into smaller particles that your skin is able to absorb and clear away. In most cases this can be completed with just one treatment (though it can take some time for your body to process and remove the pigment).
Mole removal, on the other hand, is generally done with surgical excision or surgical shaving. Don’t let the word “surgical” scare you, though—the procedure is typically performed in-office using just local numbing. While each mole is unique, a board-certified dermatologist can perform most mole removals with minimal scarring. Just a word to the wise, though: moles that are changing, irregularly shaped, irregularly colored, or bleeding may be a sign of skin cancer, so you should have them evaluated by a dermatologist before seeking cosmetic mole removal. If a mole is cancerous, the illness may have spread beyond the mole itself, so cosmetic mole removal is not an appropriate treatment option if you suspect skin cancer.
Whatever it is that you want to get off your skin, it’s always best to start by heading to an expert, like our licensed aestheticians at Laser Lights or our plastic surgeon Dr. David Whiteman. To find out if we can help you clear away a spot you don’t want on your skin, or treat a number of other cosmetic concerns, schedule a free consultation at Laser Lights Cosmetic Laser Center. For more skin care tips, helpful information, and new savings every month, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.