Should this mole be looked at by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon? If it needs to be removed I'm concerned about scars (Photo)

I have had a mole on my cheek since I was 9 years old, I'm 32 now. 2 weeks ago it felt like I was getting a pimple under the mole, sore to touch, but no head. This week a pin drop size of pus came through the mole. I did not touch or squeeze it. Concerned that it is cancerous vs a pimple.

Doctor Answers 5

A dermatologist should check your changing mole

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Dermatologists specialize and have advanced training in evaluating and diagnosing moles and other skin growths.  We also have advanced magnifying devices like dermatoscopes that allow us to look at the mole in a much more detailed way than the naked eye or regular magnifier.  Once we assess the mole, we can recommend the most appropriate way to remove the mole with the least risk of scarring.

Baltimore Dermatologic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Changing mole on cheek

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It is always difficult to tell from a photograph, but since your mole has been changing, you should be safe and have all your moles carefully evaluated. Please use the ABCDE's as your guide for when to be concerned about moles: A for Asymmetry; B for irregular Borders; C for black or uneven Colors; D for Diameter greater than a pencil eraser; and E for a growth that is Evolving or changing. If necessary, it is an extremely simple five minute procedure for a dermatologist to remove the mole using either a "shave" or an excisional biopsy which typically leaves a minimal scar. The mole can then be checked microscopically for reassurance.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Concerning mole

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Hi msudcva,

So it is never wrong to be concerned, especially if a mole is doing something new.  They are part of the skin, and it is possible to get a pimple in or near a mole - so your initial suspicion is likely correct.  If you are concerned, I would see a dermatologist.  the best way to evaluate whether a mole is potentially cancerous is to either have a dermatologist examine it, or to have it removed and looked at under a microscope.  There are ways to destroy moles (remove the pigment from the skin) without cutting and leaving a scar, but they are not recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.  In general, if skin malignancy is the concern, the aim is to remove or destroy the potentially dangerous cells.  Either cutting them away or scraping and burning the surface is the most effective way to do that.  Cutting them away leaves a nicer scar and has a lower recurrence rate.  

For the mole on your cheek, you would probably end up with a scar about 1 cm long.  It would be red for the first several months, but with time it should fade to near the normal color of your skin.  Again - dermatologist should be your first stop for evaluation of a potentially changing mole.  Patients then usually come to me for surgical excision.  Best of luck.

Dr. Jespersen

M. Renee Jespersen, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

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See a Cosmetic Dermatologist for Mole Removal

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I suggest seeing a cosmetic dermatologist for a formal evaluation. Moles can be improved or removed with lasers, radiowave or shave. Best, Dr. Emer

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 207 reviews

Concerning mole

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Thank you for your question. Two different lesions can appear in the same spot, such as what you are describing, a mole and a "pimple." Also, moles can get irritated and inflamed which may account for the swelling and tenderness. I highly recommend consulting with a board certified surgical dermatologist or Mohs surgeon (a dermatologist specializing in Mohs surgery) to have your mole evaluated and to discuss removal options and expectations. Take care and good luck.

Reuel Aspacio, MD, FAAD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.