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Cheapest Mole Removal Methods in Singapore Reviewed!

by Dr Wan Chee Kwang
August 22, 2022

What are the cheapest mole removal methods in Singapore? Do they work and how much do they cost?

Mole removal costs in Singapore can be quite substantial. This is especially so if you're looking to have it done properly by an experienced doctor in a reputable medical aesthetics clinic using cutting-edge mole removal techniques. Costs can range from less than a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars for more complicated cases.

When considering mole removal, price is an important factor for many patients. Often, patients have already explored or even undergone cheaper mole removal methods before consulting a doctor. Some of these methods may be at a much lower price, on the order of a few dollars to tens of dollars per mole removal.

Cheapest Mole Removal Methods Available in Singapore

DIY mole removal creams, home-use 'laser' mole removal devices, and beauty salon mole removals are some of the budget mole removal methods in Singapore. While not exhaustive, it is likely to be what an average person would be able to find just searching for mole removal online or walking around their neighborhood in Singapore. Please note that I definitely do not endorse or recommend these methods!

Scratching or pulling

Fingers about to scratch a mole
Try to resist the urge to scratch at your mole

Cost: Free for unlimited times but may result in costly complications

This method is often the first method that patients have tried using. Usually, this is when they are kids and naively think that the mole can be scratched off like a simple scab. Unfortunately, it is usually not possible to do mole remova by just scratching off the mole:

  • Fingernails contain a lot of bacteria, and predispose the wound to infection that may lead to scarring
  • Scratching is a very blunt tool and usually does not go deep enough to remove most moles, while at the same time damaging the surrounding normal skin unnecessarily, which may lead to scarring
  • Trauma from scratching at a mole may make it harder to discern the boundaries of a mole or make the mole appear abnormal. This may complicate subsequent professional mole removal, increasing the risk of recurrence and scarring. Doctors may also be more inclined to recommend surgery for an abnormal looking mole to rule out cancerous change. That will increase cost and always result in a scar.

DIY mole removal creams

mole removal cream
Example of mole removal cream available online

Cost: Mole removal creams can be found online with prices ranging from one to twenty dollars.

Most of these creams are quite vague as to what the active ingredients are, so it is hard to say how they work. Ingredients are often listed in a dubious manner (for example all-natural extracts) and may include dangerous substances that result in severe skin damage.

Can cheap DIY mole removal creams remove moles successfully?

It is not impossible to remove moles with such methods, just much more difficult. Liquid nitrogen freezing or chemical peeling work through a somewhat similar mechanism. Doctors used these many decades ago to remove skin growths but have been all but abandoned by medical aesthetics doctors and dermatologists in favor of more modern techniques.

Such creams do not penetrate deeply enough to remove the mole completely. They can also cause indiscriminate destruction of the surrounding tissue resulting in scarring. It is difficult to limit damage to only the mole tissue. The applied cream tends to smudge out of the mole onto the surrounding skin area. I've personally treated scarring in patients who've tried such mole removal creams. The scarring is often wider and more obvious than the original mole (which is often still stubbornly present).

In my opinion, such mole removal creams are either dangerous or ineffective, and best avoided.

Home-use 'laser' mole removal devices

picosecond laser mole removal pen
Example of 'laser' mole removal device found online

If mole removal creams won't work, surely a more high-tech method such as a laser will work? A quick search online turns up many listings for home-use mole removal lasers, including plasma lasers, picosecond lasers, etc.

Cost: A search for mole removal lasers shows costs from five dollars up to a couple of hundred dollars

Looking at these handheld devices, it is likely that they are not true lasers or at most very low-powered lasers. Proper lasers that you'll see in medical aesthetics and dermatology clinics are usually large machines because they need things like capacitors, power supplies, and flash lamps. Though marketed as 'lasers', these DIY mole removal devices are usually not lasers per se. Most commonly, they appear to be cautery or plasma devices.

Radiofrequency or laser mole removal machines used in medical aesthetics, dermatology, or plastic surgery clinics effect mole removal through rapid vaporization of intracellular water. This achieves minimal collateral heat damage to the surrounding normal skin, reducing the risk of scarring.

Cautery or plasma devices involve the passage of electrical current through a metal tip. In cautery devices, the tip heats up and is then used to burn the mole. In plasma devices, the difference in electrical charge between the skin and the charged tip results in an electrical arc discharging onto the skin. As cautery and plasma devices deliver energy mostly as superficial heat, they share some disadvantages when used for mole removal:

  • shallow penetration resulting in a greater chance of the mole growing back subsequently
  • energy tends to spread sideways instead of penetrating deeper, resulting in more collateral damage and increasing the risk of scarring unnecessarily
  • poor visibility due to carbonization (blackening) making it hard to ensure removal of all visible pigmented mole cells without excessively aggressive treatment

Can I remove a mole myself?

Aside from the technical differences between DIY devices and legitimate medical mole removal methods, one pertinent consideration is that mole removal, like all surgery, is hugely operator dependent. This is why top surgeons are highly sought after, can charge many times that of most surgeons, and yet have long waiting times.

Imagine this: You get one of these cheapest mole removal methods online. You've probably not treated any moles before, so it'll be your very first time trying to do a mole removal. You start treating yourself, fighting through the pain, and struggling to figure out if the mole is completely removed or you've gone way too deep. Just the slip of a finger is all it would take to mess things up.

Most people can't even cut their own hair competently, let alone perform mole removal surgery on themselves. It would be difficult to ensure the best outcome possible even with advanced equipment and a ton of experience.

Cheap mole removals at beauty salons

doctor examining a mole using a dermatoscope
Specialized equipment such as dermatoscopes are often used by doctors and dermatologists to examine moles before, during, and after mole removal. Beauty salon therapists are unlikely to possess or know how to utilize these expensive tools

Sure, you may not be brave enough to attempt cheap DIY mole removal. How about those facial therapists at beauty salons then? After all, every time you go in for your facial they would offer you mole removal at a pretty cheap price.

Cost: A wide range from tens of dollars to hundreds of dollars, and sometimes even thousands of dollars

During consultations, some patients are fond of saying 'but mole removal only costs $X at the beauty salon!'. Why pay more for a doctor-performed mole removal when it may not be the cheapest way? Medical practice is strictly regulated and doctors have to be licensed to practice in Singapore. Before they are allowed to do laser mole removals, doctors need to have an approved medical degree and further postgraduate training such as specialist training or a certificate of competence. The fact is that facial therapists have no medical training or qualifications. Indeed, they may not even have much more experience than you when it comes to mole removal.

The Difference Between Mole Removal By Doctors vs Therapists

Consider these:

  • Beauty salon therapists are not medically trained to assess your mole and may miss signs of malignant change. This may delay definitive treatment by which time cancer may have spread.
  • Beauty salon therapists are not allowed to use actual mole removal lasers. Lasers for application on human beings can only be used by registered medical practitioners on premises approved by MOH, not in beauty salons, spas, or at home. So it's likely that whatever 'laser mole removal' they offer is either illegally obtained or not a true laser meant for medical mole removal.
  • Other than medical equipment used to actually remove the mole, beauty salon therapists do not have expensive ancillary equipment such as microsurgical loupes, dermatoscopes with polarized or ultraviolet light, or local anaesthetics. Such equipment complements the actual mole removal method, enhancing effectiveness and safety.
  • Medical aesthetics doctors, dermatologists, and plastic surgeons are all strictly regulated by the Singapore Medical Council. Strict rules are in place as to what sort of treatments can be done, what can be advertised, and what kinds of claims can be made. On the other hand, beauty salons are notoriously unregulated, with little recourse if anything goes wrong. Hence the hyperbolic claims of 100% effective mole removals or zero scarring risk, photoshopped before-after pictures and paid testimonials, etc.

My Experience Dealing With Moles Removed By Beauty Salon Therapists

Many patients who consult me for mole removal have tried cheap mole removals at beauty salons before. From my experience dealing with the aftermath of such amateur mole removals, beauty salon therapists often undertreat, removing only the surface parts of the mole. This may camouflage the color of the mole, making it less visible. Even when patients are satisfied with the outcome and feel that the mole is completely removed, a detailed examination often shows that the mole is still visibly present. The mole tissue left behind may grow with time, eventually resurfacing with a vengeance.

Even more dangerous are those therapists that are over-confident and over-aggressive with mole removal. As the methods available to them cause more collateral damage, this may end up causing a scar to develop. Worse still, the mole cells may still grow back mixed in with the scar tissue - basically, a nightmare to fix later because it's difficult to tell where the mole starts and ends.

Should You Try Any Of These Cheapest Mole Removal Methods?

Like many things in life, you get what you pay for. Can cheap mole removal methods work? It's not impossible and there are still people who have had good outcomes. Is it cheaper? Sometimes yes, but sometimes it may be even more expensive than going to a doctor. Since these methods are cheap, should you try using them to remove your mole? This depends on how much you value meticulous and carefully done mole removal.

Personally, I've seen too many patients waste money on such attempts to end up with an incompletely removed mole, scarring that's worse than the mole, or worst - both. When these patients come to me, the recurrent mole/scar is often harder and costlier to treat. Despite best efforts, the final outcome would usually be poorer than if we just did the mole removal properly in the first place.

Is trying a cheap mole removal worth the risks, given that mole removal at clinics costs just slightly more and can have better effects with fewer complications? It's a personal decision. I would recommend that you get it done properly. Go to a qualified doctor. It doesn't have to be me - the prices I charge for mole removal are definitely not the cheapest though I always try my hardest to give patients the best outcome possible within their means.

Are thinking of trying any of these cheapest mole removal methods? Have you tried some of these methods but had unsatisfactory results? Contact us to explore medical mole removal by a doctor instead!

References

  1. Bronsnick, T., Kirkorian, A. Y., Khan, I., Cole, A., & Rao, B. K. (2013). From mole to scar: the unintended consequence of treatment with an over-the-counter mole removal cream. Skinmed11(6), 364–366.
  2. Hilton, S., Reinerth, G., Heise, H., Buhren, B. A., Bölke, E., & Gerber, P. A. (2011). Hypopigmented scar formation after application of over-the-counter wart and mole removal cream. Wiener klinische Wochenschrift123(5-6), 183–185. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00508-011-1544-0
  3. Frequently Asked Questions on Lasers. National Environmental Agency. https://www.nea.gov.sg/our-services/radiation-safety/lasers/frequently-asked-questions-on-lasers
  4. Lucy Mansfield. Revealed: beautician procedures leaving customers burned and scarred. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/feb/11/revealed-beautician-procedures-leaving-customers-burned-and-scarred
  5. CK Tan. Man goes for $5 mole removal procedure, ends up paying $700. STOMP. https://stomp.straitstimes.com/singapore-seen/man-goes-for-5-mole-removal-procedure-allegedly-gets-pressured-into-signing-up-for

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