I have always disliked my moles for which I have quite a few across my body, not only because they are lumpy, sprout hair and look unattractive but moreso for the fact that I’m forever catching them on my clothing, accidentally with my nails when scratching an itch and clipping them with my razor and making them bleed when trying to remove the unwanted hair. And as we grow and age so do our moles, often becoming larger, more raised and discoloured with time which is why it is best to be aware of them, keep a check on their growth and speak to your doctor if you have any concerns with their appearance.
Most moles are harmless and simply look unattractive which can affect your confidence or prevent you from wearing certain clothing or jewellery if they are in a sensitive area, having them removed as considered a cosmetic treatment which your GP can advise of a suitable private clinic to refer you to as this is not typically covered by the NHS. My doctor removed a mole from my foot as a child for medical reasons as it was very large and on the arch of my foot which was agitated by wearing socks and shoes. I have a vague memory as a child of my mother squeezing my hand as needles and scalpels pinched at my foot and they dug the mole and its root out and stitched my foot up. It was quite a traumatic experience that left me unable to walk for several weeks.
Fast forward to my adult years and another large lumpy mole was removed from my breast a couple of years ago whilst I underwent reconstructive surgery. My surgeon asked me prior to my breast reconstruction if the lumpy mole beside my nipple caused me any discomfort and I told him how it would rub against my bra and itch. I didn’t realise it could be removed as I thought that moles were moles and once you had them you had to live with them for the rest of your life, as only the mole on my foot was deemed as medical. My surgeon very happily took the top of my mole off of my breast by slicing it level with the skin and closing it with heat known as cauterising rather than cutting it out and stitching it closed which would result in more scarring and a longer recovery time.
Just the other day I was in the shower shaving the wirey black hair from the moles on my arm when my razor caught the top of wrist mole and I bled all over the place. Out of curiosity I asked my doctor if my raised moles might be suitable for removal and after checking them over he advised they were perfectly safe and wrote me a letter so that I could I set about finding a cosmetic practise to remove them. He stated: I have seen Tracy Kiss regarding her moles on the face and arms. All these appear clinically benign, although I have advised careful monitoring of the lesion on the left upper arm. And that’s when I very happily discovered the Forever Young Clinic in Marlow just a short drive from where I live.
Shahla Saunders is a qualified RGN (Registered Nurse) and has been specialising in aesthetics and cosmetic surgery for over 25 years. From her career within cardiac surgery, general burns and plastics, plastic surgery and medicine Shahla went on to form the Forever Young Clinic which specialises in anti-ageing and skin rejuvenation techniques and also covers mole removal. I telephoned the clinic to speak directly to Shahla regarding my moles to express my concerns and she was wonderfully patient, informative and reassuring.
As you can see from this photo I have three raised moles, known medically as compound melanocytic naevi meaning they are raised above the skin, light brown and sometimes hairy that I would like to remove and are located on my wrist, upper arm and above my lip. Other mole types include dermal melanocytic naevi which are usually raised, pale and sometimes hairy and also junctional melanocytic naevi which are usually brown, round and flat and it was this type that was removed from my foot as a child and my doctor has advised I keep a close eye on at the top of my left arm as I this cannot be cosmetically removed and will leave considerable scarring if cut out.
Having spoken with Shahla I am confident that she is highly qualified and the right person to remove my moles but my three main concerns prior to treatment are: will it scar me, will it hurt and how much will it cost. After emailing photos of my moles to Shahla she was able to confirm that they could all be successfully cauterised which would take them flat to the skin and reduce their colour making them far less noticeable; this also provides a far more natural appearance than cutting the moles out and leaving scarring from stitches, and as I have already had a mole cauterised on my breast I am happy with the small freckle-like brown spec that is left behind in its place as opposed to a big wide brown mole.
Speaking of pain relief Shahla advised that I will be awake throughout the procedure and will not be able to feel a thing as she uses both a topical numbing cream and an injectable for above and below the skin. The cost of removing all three of my moles is £150.00 making them £50.00 each which for a private cosmetic clinic is very reasonable. I have booked in for my treatment in just a few days time and will be keeping you up to date with how I get on as well as the aftercare and healing with some before and after photos. Hopefully from this procedure you will be able to see how irritating moles can safely be removed by a professional and the cosmetic outcome that it has.
Warning signs to look out for when checking your moles include uneven colouring as most moles should have just one or two colours but melanomas have lots of different shades, uneven or ragged edges moles are usually circular or oval with a smooth border, bleeding, itching, red, inflamed swollen or crusty healthy moles shouldn’t agitate day-to-day, and finally moles that are growing bigger or have changed shape and size can be dangerous as they should generally remain as they are and be no larger than the width of a pencil so if you spot any of these warning signs contact your GP immediately.
08/10/15 My Treatment
I arrived at the Forever Young Clinic in Marlow for my treatment which is situated at the bottom of the pretty high street with parking in abundance. I was pleasantly greeted by the receptionist who made me a cup of boiled water which I requested as I don’t drink tea or coffee, and I then took a seat in the fresh and fragrant waiting area. The clinic is adorned with beautiful flowers, clean lines, glass cabinets and treatment information which I happily read through as I waited for my appointment as I always prefer to arrive a few minutes early to save rushing.
I was then greeted by Shahla and invited into the treatment room with a warm and welcoming smile. One thing that really surprised me about Shahla was her presence, as she has a very rare and innate ability to fill a room with her positivity and reassurance which left me completely at ease and very much settled my nerves. After completing a treatment card and providing my consent and doctors note Shahla settled me onto a bed in the middle of the very pretty duckegg blue room with soothing music, candles and twinkling lights where I was able to unwind and relax as she applied numbing cream to each of my moles and waited for it to take effect. She cheerfully explained the procedure to me with great patience and understanding and after a quarter of an hour the numbing cream was then wiped off.
Shahla began with the mole on my face above my top lip for which she injected the numbed area with a further anaesthetic to take away any sensation above and below the skin for a pain free mole removal. Now I can’t say that I particularly enjoy needles but at the same time I’m thankful that they exist to take away the pain of a procedure, and as my skin was numb from the cream I closed my eyes and simply felt a pressing sensation on my face rather than a pinch or prick. The needle took affect instantly just like a dentists injection and the procedure began. Seeing as it was on my face I closed my eyes the entire time and listened to the soothing music whilst Shahla got to work. Because I couldn’t see what was going on I can only describe what I felt and with a numb face it wasn’t anything! At one point I felt a very gentle pressing above my lip which actually turned out to be Shahla’s other hand holding my skin in place and had nothing to do with my mole.
Within just a couple of minutes my treatment was complete and I was able to see my skin for the first time without a mole and I was over the moon as I looked in a handheld mirror to see how clean and tidy it was. Naturally as the skin had been closed with heat it first needs to heal before I can see the final colour, much like a cut that scabs and then reveals new skin. She then covered the area with a small flesh coloured dressing and moved onto the other two moles on my right arm. Seeing as my first mole was completely painless and remarkably quick to remove I was curious to watch the treatment of the moles on my arm and had no problem seeing the needle and cauterising take place. It was morbidly fascinating to watch as my moles disappeared before my eyes with only a tiny flicker of smoke every now and then, just like burning hair. It wasn’t uncomfortable and I didn’t feel a thing, instead we chatted happily throughout and I remarked at what a positive and wonderful treatment it was as removing my moles is something that will have such a great impact on my confidence and comfort now that the hair and lumps are gone.
After dressing the final two moles my treatment was complete and took just an hour for all three from start to finish. Shahla advised that I should keep the dressing in place for 24-48hrs and avoid getting it wet until it comes off, however if I wanted to take a shower she had a waterproof dressing also. I was also advised to avoid heavy lifting for a couple of days whilst the skin heals and made a follow-up appointment to return in two weeks time to check each site. Following treatment I have no pain or discomfort I’m just careful not to lift anything heavy with my right arm so as not to pull on the skin or stretch it. As the dressing is so discreet it doesn’t notice on my face and I can still wear makeup over the top of it and go about my day as usual. There is just a small amount of dry blood on the dressings on my arm where I have driven home. I’m absolutely amazed at how positive this experience has been and I can’t wait to share my before and after pictures with you all.
48hrs After Treatment
So now that it’s two days since my treatment I had a shower and removed my dressings. I was expecting it to be tender peeling back the plasters and I thought it might pull or get caught and hurt but it came off surprisingly easy under water and didn’t cause any damage to my healing skin. The easiest plaster to remove was on my lip as it had pretty much dried out already but I think this was because it was the smallest mole so the cut was tiny.
The largest mole was on my wrist and is the picture on the left, at the moment it needs to get to the air and dry out just like a scab so this is pretty much the worst that it’s going to look right now. It doesn’t hurt, isn’t tight or sore and the nice thing about cauterising is that the skin around remains exactly the same as if I’d have had it cut out and stitched then it would have been pulled tight, raised up and bumpy and left a horrible scar. Now it’s a little red but will go down over the next few days and eventually be hardly noticeable.
The picture on the right is the top of my arm and looks exactly like my highschool injection did when I was a teenager and had the ring of needles in my arm. It’s already a million times better to not be covered in lumpy moles and I can’t wait to show you what they look like as they heal so check back to see how I’m getting on and if you have any questions feel free to ask them below.
UPDATE 15/10/15: 7 Days Since Treatment
Straight after my moles were removed my skin looked bare and fresh but in the days that have followed it has began to heal just like a cut would. The area has scabbed over and is rebuilding the skin from the bottom layers upwards and I find it super exciting because I know that very soon I will see the final result of my treatment. The scabbing on my lip is very nearly completely off as it was the smallest area of mole that was removed and is far quicker to heal. I have been wearing foundation around the scabbing area which has gotten onto it and lightened the scab slightly but I’m trying my best to keep it clean and dry.
The scabbing isn’t itchy or uncomfortable and I don’t even notice that it’s there as I was cautious of my arm the first couple of days and took care not to lift anything too heavy or knock it, but after that I forgot it was there and carried on with my day as usual. I have one week until my check up at the clinic to make sure that all is healing well and I’m hoping by then that my scabs will be off and I can see the final result. It’s going to be so strange seeing my skin without moles, I really can’t imagine it! So pop back in a week and come and have a look.
UPDATE: 22/10/15 My Check-Up Appointment
Two weeks has absolutely flown by and I’ve been so busy with the children that I’ve hardly even noticed my moles, or lack of moles as it were! As you can see the scabs have really established now and are healing deep and it won’t be long before they drop off and I can see what’s below. On my lip the scab is completely gone and I wear foundation over the little pink patch that is left behind, but just like a spot I’m expecting it to fade to normal skin colour over the next few weeks.
Having had a lumpy mole on my face for my entire life I was so used to seeing myself with it, it stuck out, got bigger and was a horrible dark brown that I hated catching with my nails when doing my makeup or flicking my hair off of my face. I’m amazed at how much better it looks already without it there and how neat and tidy the skin is now that the scab has come off; it’s left no marks, no indent, stitches or scars just fresh pink skin that will even out in colour. It’s by far the best decision I have made to have it removed and it’s totally worth the brief procedure and healing because now I can spend the rest of my life loving my upper lip!
Shahla checked me over this afternoon and advised that all was healing nicely and as it should. She told me that I should wear at least SPF2o sunscream on the scars when outside to protect them from UV light and the scabs on my arm should naturally come off in another 7-12days. Once the scabs are off I can apply a scar treatment up to three times a day such as kelocote, bio-oil or vitamin E oil to encourage the skin to heal and return to normal colour, with my lip taking another two weeks, or a month in total for the pinkness to subside. I’m very much excited to see what my arms look like after the scabs are off so check back soon to see how long it takes!
UPDATE: 29/10/15 3 Weeks Since Treatment
Today it’s three weeks since my mole removal treatment and all of my scabs are now off. The scab on my wrist came off yesterday when I was getting out of bed and caught it on my duvet, it was almost ready to drop off naturally anyway and caught slightly which pulled it off and before I could squeal it was already gone. The scab on the top of my arm had also lifted up but was still holding on until this afternoon when I put on a jacket to pop out and it was off by the time that I took it back off again when I got home.
As you can see from the pictures literally all of the pinkness is gone from my lip and my arms are ready to start fading. The new skin on my wrist is bright pink just like my lip was and the new skin on the top of my arm is bright white, I wasn’t expecting them to be two different colours but I know that arms heal differently to the face and may be more noticeable because of it. I’m so happy to have my moles and scabs gone forever and I’ll keep you updated each week on how the colours change and what my resting scars look like. In comparison to how my skin looked with moles it’s now a million times better without them and will continue to improve as my skin heals. I’m so happy I could do a cartwheel right now!
11-13 Station Road, Marlow