Lumps & Bumps
Cosmetic Removal of Lumps and Bumps
With time, you may develop skin growths that are medically not worrisome but you would prefer not have. These include moles (aka beauty marks), skin tags which are typically skin colored soft bumps that are attached to the skin by a stalk, seborrheic keratoses which are brown/tan/skin colored scaly or waxy stuck on appearing bumps, sebaceous hyperplasia which are overgrowths of oil glands and appear as yellowish bumps with a central dell on the face, and milia which are tiny little cysts that appear as small white bumps most often on the face. Your dermatologist can treat these growths using a variety of techniques.
How do you remove a mole?
Cosmetic removal of a mole can be done in the office with local anesthetic. There are two options for a cosmetic removal of a mole.
If the mole is raised, the raised portion can be shaved off. You will have a circular open wound that takes a week or so to heal and a circular scar in its place. If the mole is brown, brown pigment may develop within the scar. With this method, the mole may recur as some of the cells that make up the mole reside underneath the surface of the skin. If this happens, you can choose to remove it again.
The other option is to cut it out and bring the edges together with small stitches. The stitches are removed 5-7 days later. The resulting scar is a line scar that is a little longer than the diameter of the original mole.
Regardless of the method of cosmetic removal, the mole is sent to the lab to confirm it is a healthy mole.
How do you remove skin tags?
Skin tags can be removed one of two ways. One way is to be snipped off. Most often, local anesthetic is not needed because the discomfort of the removal is less than the pinch of the injected anesthetic. You will have a small open sore that takes a couple days to heal. Skin tags are attached to the skin by such a small piece of skin that scarring, if there is any, is typically imperceptible.
Another treatment for skin tags is cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is the use of liquid nitrogen that is sprayed onto or applied to the skin tags. Liquid nitrogen is so cold that it burns, temporarily. The burning sensation subsides after 10-15 minutes. Then, over the next 1-2 weeks, the skin tag(s) get red, scaly, crusty, and fall off.
How do you treat seborrheic keratoses?
Seborrheic keratoses are typically treated with cryotherapy. As described in the removal of skin tags, cryotherapy is the use of liquid nitrogen that is sprayed onto or applied to the growth to be treated. Liquid nitrogen is so cold that it burns, temporarily. The burning sensation subsides after 10-15 minutes. The treated lesions become red, scaly, crusty, and fall off in approximately 2-4 weeks, depending on their size and location on the body. Seborrheic keratoses often need more than one treatment session. Treatments are performed 4-6 weeks apart. Cryotherapy can leave a light mark or dark mark in its place; however, many patients prefer this over the raised growth.
What is the treatment for sebaceous hyperplasia?
Sebaceous hyperplasia are treated with light electrodessication. We use an electric needle to melt these overgrowths of oil glands so that they are flat with the skin surface. We often numb the area to be treated with a topical numbing cream for 15-30 minutes prior to the procedure. Afterwards, you will have a scab that takes about a week to heal. A portion of the growth resides below the surface of the skin. We prefer not to treat this and leave a divot so sebaceous hyperplasia can recur. If they recur, they can be treated again.
How do you treat milia?
Milia are most often treated with extraction. A needle or sharp instrument is used to make a small hole in the top of the milia and then pressure is applied to the lateral edges to pop out the cyst contents. Afterwards, you might have pinpoint bleeding, which we stop before you leave and a scab that takes a few days to heal.
Are there any tips for cosmetic removal of bumps?
Generally speaking, it is best to not be tan for these procedures. We will review in detail all post-procedure care at your visit, but it typically involves keeping the areas treated moist with Vaseline or Aquaphor Healing ointment at least twice a day until healed and sun protection, as well.