Dark Pigmentation Remaining After Mole Removal, WIll It Lighten?

I've had a mole removed only two days ago, and aside from parts of it that are slightly scabby there is dark pigmentation left over in the shape of the original mole. I know the area will likely always be pigmented darker than my skin tone, but should I expect the current pigmentation to lighten more during the healing process, or is this simply what I am permanently left with?

Doctor Answers 6

What to do about hyperpigmentation after mole removal

It appears from your photo that the mole was removed by shaving it off the surface of the skin.  Several things to mention here:

1. to minimize the pigmentation, make sure you keep the area out of the sun.  Sun exposure will darken the post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

2. If the area is still crusted, you would want to use an antibiotic ointment on the wound because a dry wound heals slower and worse than a moist wound.  Make sure you don't have any allergies to over the counter antiobiotic ointments as adding an allergic reaction to a wound will also make the wound worse.

3. If a chemical cautery like Monsel's solution (ferric subsulfate) was used to stop the bleeding when the mole was removed, there may be residual pigmentation just from that.

In general you can expect the wound to get lighter as it heals.  However, if there is a deeper component to the mole that was left in the skin after removal, it may also recur as a dark spot.  Usually if moles are removed, they should be removed in their entirety.  That means an excision including the deeper component and sutures to close the wound.

Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Controlling hyperpigmentation of a scar from mole removal

This scar is still in the active phase of healing.  There is still a potential for hyperpigmentation.  Once the skin heals, I would recommend topical Melarase to minimize the risk of pigmentation of the scar.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Mole removal

It appears that the mole was shaved off.  It is very important to take some precautions as it heals.  First, stay out of the sun.  Also, do not let the area scab over.  Apply some antibiotic ointment on the area for the first 2-3 days and then transition to vaseline for another 2 days.  

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Residual pigment after shave biopsy

The wound is still quite red as you have only recently had surgery.  There may be residual pigment after a shave biopsy and this is one of the limitations of the procedure.  It would be best to leave it to settle for several months and if there is still pigment in the scar and you do not like the look of it, you could always have excison of the scar.

Removing Moles by Shave Excision

I frequently remove moles using a "shave excision" method, typically with excellent cosmetic results. The mole is actually "shaved off" at a level just below the surface of the skin. This method is quite effective for mole removal and typically leaves a minimal scar. The procedure takes less than a minute and is fairly painless. Moles that are removed in this fashion will rarely recur enough to be bothersome. If the pigmentation within the mole is quite deep, it may heal with much smoother skin but the dark pigmentation can remain. If that is the case and the pigmentation is felt to be too visible, the mole can always be excised and sutured at a future date which is usually quite simple and often results in a smaller scar than if the mole had been excised and sutured from the onset. I would NOT recommend consulting a board certified plastic surgeon (as recommended below) as they rarely do shave excisions.


Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Mole removal

I believe moles should be removed full thickness, and should not be shaved. You seem to have the mole shaved, hoefully it was sent for examination by a pathologist.

For your present stuation you need local wound care for the wound to heal completely. Then see a board certified plastic surgeon for examination and options of cmplete removal.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.2 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.