Do Moles Grow Back After Being Removed?

Date: Dec 2018

Mole removal is usually permanent, but it is sometimes possible for a mole to reappear or get bigger after it has been partially removed. To understand why this happens, it helps to know what a mole actually is.

What is a Mole?

Moles are usually small, brownish patches on our skin. A mole is a growth that develops when extra pigment-containing cells form in one small patch. Since there are more of these cells, the area looks darker than the surrounding skin.
We are actually born with all of our moles, but they aren’t visible when we are babies because they are so small. As we grow older, the microscopic moles gradually get bigger. Sometimes the moles can become raised or start to grow hair, but they will usually remain fairly small, round and symmetrical. Most moles are benign and won’t cause any problems, but some can develop into skin cancer. A mole that is growing or changing quickly may need to be removed in case it has become cancerous.

How Are Moles Removed?

The two main procedures for mole removal are surgical excision and shave excision. A surgical excision involves cutting out the mole, together with a small border of surrounding skin. During a shave excision, the raised portion of the mole is sliced off in order to flatten it. The chances of a mole growing back depend on which type of removal you have.

Can a Mole Grow Back After It’s Removed?

If a mole has been removed completely then it will not grow back. After a surgical excision, the tissue will be checked in the lab to ensure that the whole mole has been removed. As long as there is a border of normal tissue all around the mole, there shouldn’t be any cells left behind. This type of removal will be performed if there is a risk of skin cancer as it’s vital to ensure that all the cancerous cells are eliminated.


If any cells are left behind, then the mole can re-appear. Just as the microscopic moles we are born with can develop into visible moles, a few cells left behind after a mole removal can grow into a full-sized mole again. Moles are more likely to grow back if you have a shave excision, as the procedure won’t be attempting to remove the entire mole. You may still be able to see a darker patch after the procedure, as the main purpose is to flatten the mole rather than to get rid of it entirely. The mole can then keep growing and may form a small bump again.
Mole removal is permanent as long as long as you have a surgical excision to remove all of the cells. If there is a risk of skin cancer then it is important to have this type of removal, but if you are getting rid of a mole for cosmetic reasons then you may want to consider a shave excision instead. Even though there is a small chance that the mole could grow back, it can still be the best choice as it’s a simpler procedure with less risk of scarring.

Did you know?

Most moles are not a cause for concern and present a purely cosmetic problem. However, moles can occasionally undergo changes that lead to them becoming cancerous.

Acne is a common condition characterised by blackheads, whiteheads and cysts. It affects the greasy and hair-bearing areas such as the face, chest and back.

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