Itchy moles on your body may be an indication of a serious skin condition known as melanoma. Apparently, itchy moles may lie anywhere on your body. However, the scalp, neck, arms and legs are more prone to itchy moles. Often, moles located on your back, chest, breast and stomach may also become itchy. But what causes itchy moles? Is it always cancer? Is mole removal the best treatment for itchy moles?
Definition and Characteristics of Moles
What is a mole? A mole or a skin mole is a small colored spot or lesion on the skin or mucous membrane. A mole is a type of a nevus (plural Nevi). According to WebMD, “Moles occur when cells in the skin grow in a cluster instead of being spread throughout the skin.”
These cells are called melanocytes and they produce a substance called melanin. Melanin is the substance that gives your skin the natural color or pigmentation when melanocytes are properly distributed on your skin. Moles are chronic (long-lasting) in nature and usually exist throughout your lifetime unless removed.
There are various types of moles according to different classifications. When grouped according to their origin, congenital moles are those that exist at birth as birthmarks while acquired moles develop later after birth. On the other hand, moles can be classified as normal moles, atypical moles or cancerous moles (malignant melanoma) in terms of their appearance and characteristics.
Generally, moles have different colors but are often black, brown or pink. Their texture and appearance may be flashy, crusty or scaly and flakey. Moles have various sizes and shapes. They can be flat moles (not sticking out of the skin) or raised moles (elevated above the skin). Moles should not be confused with other similar skin problems like skin tags and freckles or warts, which may also be itchy.
What Causes Itchy Moles
Occasionally, you may notice that the skin around your mole develops redness. In addition, the skin on the mole may become scaly, itchy and may peel off. In some cases, the mole grows bigger and becomes itchy. Dermatologists believe that there are various changes in the mole that cause it to become itchy.
Whereas some these changes on the mole may be harmless, others may be signs of dangerous skin conditions such as cancer. In case you experience itchiness on moles for more than two weeks, see your dermatologist to examine them and rule out skin cancer. This should be the practice irrespective of the possible cause of the itchiness. Some of the common causes of itchy moles include:
1. Itchy Mole Due to Small injuries
Usually, moles get small injuries or micro injuries, especially when they are slightly rubbed. These small injuries may irritate the mole and make it have an itchy sensation. Naturally, moles are often subjected to mild rubbing from your clothes or ornaments such as necklaces and bangles, depending on their location. Generally, itchy moles on areas such as the back, chest, breast and belly are often as a result of rubbing from your clothes as your body moves.
Additionally, skin to skin rubbing may also lead to mild rubbing on the moles. This usually happens when the mole is located in skin folds and areas that have adjacent body parts that normally rub together.
Raised moles tend to experience rubbing more than flat moles due to their physical disposition. In other words, your clothes or other parts of your skin will certainly rub moles that stick out of your skin more often and more intensely than those moles that are on level with your skin. Therefore, raised moles are more likely to become irritated and itchy that flat moles.
2. Itchy Mole Due to Drug Side-effects
An Itchy mole may be one of the side effects of certain drugs, especially hormonal drugs. So if you are using drugs, particularly hormonal drugs, it could be a reason as to why your moles are itching. The presence of the in your body triggers certain physiological processes on the moles, which produce the itching sensation on the moles and the surrounding skin.
3. Itchy Mole Due to Hormonal Changes
Your body ay undergo hormonal changes due to various reasons, including physiological and environmental changes. For example, women often experience hormonal changes during pregnancies, menstruation, and menopause. On the other hand, having stressful experiences may lead to a hormonal imbalance in both men and women.
Hormonal changes are known to have many effects on your body, including causing itchy moles. Hormonal imbalance may ‘disturbs’ the physiological processes on the mole, making it become inflamed and produce an itching sensation and undergo other changes as well.
4. It Mole Due to Physical Impact
If existing moles are subjected to strong impact or massage, they may become itchy. The impact interferes with the tissue structure on the mole and sometimes causes physical injury. As a result, various changes might occur on the mole, including reddening, inflammation and bleeding. Normally, the irritation caused by these changes is usually accompanied by itching on the mole.
Probably, if you have existing moles on your back or chest, you might have experienced pain, inflammation and itching on the moles after thorough chest and back massage. The itching and the other signs are often caused by the damage on the moles due to the pressure applied on your body during the massage.
5. Itchy Mole Due to Ultraviolet Radiation
Ultraviolet radiations are present in the sunlight. Enough sunlight is essential to your body as it provides it with vitamin D and keeps it warm. However, excessive exposure to sunlight may subject your body to high doses of ultraviolet radiations. The high doses of the radiations may be harmful to your body, for example, it may cause serious sunburns on your skin.
In case you already have moles on your body, they may be severely be affected by the excess ultraviolet radiations. The moles will undergo certain processes due to the radiations. They may start growing bigger, change their color, and become inflamed and often itchy. The moles which are most affected this way are those located on exposed areas of your body such as moles on your scalp, moles on your face and moles on your neck.
6. Itchy Moles Due to Allergies
Various skin allergies may also cause the itchy sensation on moles. Although this may not indicate any danger of melanoma, it does not rule it out. Therefore, still have the moles examined, especially when this happens regularly and for more than two weeks.
7. Itchy Moles Due to Eczema and Dermatitis
In case you suffer from eczema or dermatitis, they may cause itching on your moles. Itchy moles as a result of these conditions is normal and may not point to skin cancer.
8. Itchy Moles Due to Irritated Cancerous Cells
Itchy moles may also be due to nerve endings that are being irritated by the growth of cancerous cells. In this case, you are required to see your dermatologist immediately for treatment. You should always be vigilant whenever your mole starts itching. Sometimes, the other factors such as sunlight or hormonal drugs only trigger itchiness or escalate although cancerous cells are the underlying cause.
Itchy Mole on Back and Chest and Stomach
It is very common to have itchy moles on your back. This is also true when it comes to your chest and breasts. The common cause of itchy moles on these parts is again ultraviolet radiation sunlight. This especially affects those who go sunbathing and lie down with their backs or stomach facing the sky. However, the itchiness could be due to the other causes such micro-injury and drug side effects
Itchy Mole on Face, Scalp, Neck, Arms and Legs
Itchy moles on your face, neck, scalp, arms or legs are mostly caused by ultraviolet radiation. This is because these parts of your body are often directly exposed to the environment. It, therefore, means that they are affected most by ultraviolet sunlight. However, as in any other parts of the body, itchy moles on these areas may be caused by other factors
Mole Itches Sometimes
In most cases, an itchy mole does not cause the itchy sensation continuously. Probably, the itching sensation id triggered by a change of environment. So, if your mole itches sometimes, find out the environmental changes that could be causing the itchiness. For example, as we have seen above, ultraviolet radiation could be one of the causes of itchy moles. So, exposing the moles on the sun could trigger itching on the mole.
Itchy Mole Cancer (Melanoma)
An itchy mole may be a symptom of melanoma or malignant melanoma. The term melanoma or malignant melanoma refers to a type of skin cancer that is associated with a mole. As such, moles that develop into skin cancer are often referred to as cancerous moles. Melanoma is probably the most dangerous and most dreaded type of skin cancer.
Usually, when an itchy mole is a symptom of melanoma, the itchiness is accompanied by other signs and symptoms. Together, the signs and symptoms of melanoma, malignant melanoma or just cancerous mole sum up unique characteristics known as the ABCDEs of Melanoma. These characteristics are as highlighted in the next section
However, as with any other form of cancer, melanoma can be easily treated and managed if discovered at an early stage. For this reason, you are required to examine your moles for any changes. In case of any change, including itchiness, see your dermatologist immediately.
The ABCDEs of Melanoma
ABCDEs is an initialism that was created by a dermatologist in order to make laypersons quickly understand and remember the characteristics of a suspicious or cancerous mole. Probably, this was occasioned by the dire consequences of not noticing the dreaded melanoma at the earliest opportunity.
An itchy mole stands out in the ABCDEs of melanoma in the Evolving part of the characteristics. Since this information is very vital, let us look at each of the characteristics as summarized by the ABCDEs of Melanoma. The accompanied pictures will enable you understand them better.
- A denotes Asymmetrical. Cancerous moles tend to have an asymmetrical shape on your skin, that is, they do not form two equal halves through their center. In contrast, non-cancerous moles have a symmetrical shape, that is, they form equal parts on either side when a line is drawn trough the center of the mole.
- B denotes Border: Usually, cancerous moles have irregular borders. This means that the outer edge of the mole is not smooth but rather rugged. On the other hand, non-cancerous moles usually have smooth and even borders.
- C denotes Color. Cancerous moles tend to change colors with time. In some cases, they are characterized by multiple colors which do not have to change. In contrast, cancerous moles usually have one uniform color that does not undergo change.
- D denotes Diameter. Cancerous moles tend to be larger than normal In general, moles are considered to be larger than normal if their diameter exceeds 1⁄4 inch or 0.6 cm. So, always have your mole checked if it is larger than this diameter.
- E denotes Evolving refers to any change that occurs on the moles. If a mole undergoes changes, it is likely that the mole might be melanoma. The mole is said to be evolving if, for example, it grows, changes in shape or changes in color. In addition, if the mole becomes irritated, itchy, inflamed or painful, it is considered to be evolving. A bleeding mole is also considered to be part of evolving, especially when this starts occurring when it was not the case before.
Itchy Mole not Cancer
Does an itchy mole always mean cancer? The answer is no. An itchy mole can be harmless medically. This is because it is possible for a mole to exhibit some or all of the signs and symptoms of cancerous moles, including itching, when it is actually not a cancerous mole.
A mole that exhibits the typical characteristics of a cancerous mole but is found to be non-cancerous is known as an atypical mole or dysplastic mole or abnormal mole. Usually, atypical moles do not need to be removed on medical grounds because they do not pose a serious danger to your health.
However, atypical moles should be examined by a dermatologist from time to time (at least twice a year). This will help rule out melanoma as atypical moles are more likely to develop into cancerous moles with time. However, in case it is associated with melanoma, the mole can be removed in good time.
Though rarely, even normal moles may become cancerous with time, probably after being subjected to various conditions. Usually, when a mole develops into cancer, it happens gradually and might take place over weeks or months. So, closely monitor even normal moles in order to be able to notice any the changes and take measures to avert the dangerous consequences of melanoma.
Itchy Mole Advice
To solve the problems of itchy moles or atypical moles in general once and for all, just have the moles removed and treated if necessary. In addition to unforeseen problems in future such as melanoma, this will solve the current problems like itching, bleeding, inflammation and pain.
The best practice as regards moles and your health is to continuously monitor them, even if they look normal. However, you must have them examined by a dermatologist immediately you notice anything suspicious to avoid possible serious health problems like cancer. Usually, your dermatologist will carry out mole biopsy in addition to physical examinations.
Apparently, even very normal moles may become cancerous with time. Therefore, it is also necessary for you to request your dermatologist to determine the prognosis of the mole as he examines them in order to foresee the possibility of it becoming cancerous later. In case it is found to be potentially cancerous, it can be removed early enough before cancer develops. This way, the removal and treatment of such a mole will very easy, less painful, less dangerous and far inexpensive.
Itchy Mole Removal & Treatment
The solution to an itchy mole, whether it is found to be cancerous or not, is to have it removed. In addition, the mole removal is should be accompanied with the necessary treatment, especially if it is found to be cancerous.
There are many ways of removing and treating itchy moles. The choice of the method to be used for the removal depends on its medical implications. Your doctor will choose the right method that befits your situation. Some of the methods of mole removal and their pictures before and after removal are outlined below.
1. Cutting off Mole (Mole Removal Surgery) for Itchy Moles
An itchy mole can be removed by cutting it off. This is a simple surgery procedure that your dermatologist can carry out on you as an out-patient. It is highly advisable that this procedure is carried out by a dermatologist or qualified general practitioner.
This is because the doctor will professionally examine it before the procedure to avoid any health related problems. In addition, if this surgery is carried out professionally, you will avoid possible mole removal infections.
During the procedure, the doctor will first clean the mole and the surrounding skin to eliminate bacteria and germs. The next step will be to numb the area using an injection or an appropriate local anesthesia.
When ready, the doctor will incise or shave the mole using a sterile surgical scalpel or scissors. During the procedure, flat moles are incised while raised moles are shaved. Finally, the dermatologist will apply an appropriate antiseptic on the area and wrap it with a bandage to stop bleeding and keep off germs.
2. Freezing off Moles (Cryotherapy) for Itchy Moles
This is a common method of mole removal that involves subjecting the mole to a very cold condition to destroy it. In this procedure, a suitable freezing substance, usually liquid nitrogen gas is used. The medical term for this procedure is cryotherapy.
As in surgery, the doctor will begin with cleaning the mole and the area around it. To minimize discomfort during the procedure, the doctor may numb the area with a suitable anesthesia through topical application or injection.
The doctor will then apply the freezing agent on the mole from its container by way of a nozzle. Freezing the mole damages the tissues. As a result, the mole will shrivel and fall off or peel off.
3. Burning off Mole (Cauterization) for Itchy Moles
This method can also be used remove itchy moles. The procedure involves the use of heat to destroy the mole tissues. It is medically known as cauterization. There are two types of cauterization
Depending on the source of heat used in the procedure. Electrical cauterization uses an electrical cautery that utilizes electrical energy to produce the heat. On the other hand, chemical cauterization makes use of energy produced by a chemical substance that is applied on the mole.
During the procedure, the dermatologist will heat up the cauterizing tool by plugging it into the power socket. He will then clean and numb the mole and the surrounding area with a local anesthesia through injection or topical application.
When ready, the dermatologist will properly adjust cauterizing tool and burn the mole to damage it. In some cases, the mole is cauterized in a way that also removes it from the skin immediately. However, in other cases, the damaged mole is left to fall off on its own or to be scraped off later.
The procedure is more or less the same when chemical cauterization is used apart from using a chemical substance rather that an electrical cautery.
4. Laser Mole Removal (Laser Surgery) for Itchy Moles
Laser mole removal utilizes focused light to remove the mole. As an advantage, the beam of light used in laser mole removal can be set to specific wavelengths. This allows focusing it into powerful beams of light that can even cut a metal bar.
By focusing on a small area, the doctor to carry out the procedure at a high level of precision. This beam of light is used to remove the mole. Due to the high precision level, laser mole removal entails minimal damage to the surrounding skin.
5. Mole Removal by Radiosurgery
Radiosurgery is a method of mole removal that involves cutting the moles tissues with high-frequency alternating current. , The cutting electrode of radiosurgery is stone cold and hence less heat is produced than any other method of mole removal. This means that mole removal by radiosurgery causes the least damage. Therefore, this method can be used to remove moles on visible areas like your face fast without leaving marks or scars behind.
6. Use of mole Removal Products for Itchy Moles
There are various products that can be used to remove an itchy mole. They include mole removal kits and creams. A mole removal kit consists of all of the pieces of equipment and products that are used together to remove a mole. Usually, the pieces of equipment and products are usually sold together as a complete set.
On the other hand, mole removal creams usually form part of the products of the mole removal kits. However, they can also be obtained separately without being part of a mole removal kit. Some of the common mole removal creams include:
- Wart And Mole Vanish
- Bio-T Herbals
- Nevi No More
- Moles Formula
- Natural Body And Skin
- Skin Tag Remover
- Freeze Away Wart Remover by Dr. Scholl
You may need further information on each of the mole removal creams, including their costs and removal procedures, and other relevant details. You can also get more information on the reasons and methods of mole removal and other related details.
Itchy Mole Removal at Home
In case you like natural mole removal methods, you can employ home remedies for mole removal to get rid of your itchy mole. In addition, the kits and creams for mole removal, including some over the counter mole removal kits and creams, can be used to remove moles at home. Invasive methods like incision and shaving, burning off moles, freezing off moles should not be carried at home. Definitely, laser mole removal cannot be done at home as it requires special expertise and machines.
However, it is highly recommended to have your moles removed by a dermatologist. If not, remove the mole only if you understand the procedure and it is not potentially dangerous. More importantly, remove the moles only after they have been examined and verified to be non-cancerous moles by a qualified specialist like a dermatologist or a general practitioner.