What Happens if You Accidentally Scratch off a Mole?
If you are concerned about the appearance of your mole or its altering shape and color, or any new growths on your skin, schedule an appointment with expert dermatologists at the Century Medical and Dental Center. The board-certified and experienced dermatology specialists address your concerns and provide the necessary treatment for all your skin conditions, including scratched and bleeding moles. Using the most advanced diagnostic tools and equipment, they strive to figure out the nature and type of mole and ensure it is not cancerous. They also offer the best mole removal treatment options to help you feel better if the moles are affecting your appearance or peace of mind.
A mole is a small cluster of pigmented cells, which appear on the skin. Common moles or nevi can appear anywhere on your body, but they are usually located in areas affected by sun exposure. Adults have between 10 and 40 miles on their skin, and new moles continue to develop as an individual grows old. Most moles are harmless, but they must be checked if they drastically change size, color, or bleed as it can indicate melanoma.
Like any other part of the body, moles can also be injured by tearing or scratching. Scratching a mole does not result in any injury or damage. It will probably cause some bleeding, but it does not require medical attention. However, if a mole continues to bleed or discharge fluid persistently or turns painful, it needs medical care.
What Happens if You Accidentally Scratch off a Mole?
You may end up scratching a mole accidentally by catching it on clothing or jewelry, applying makeup or skincare products near it, rubbing an insect site, or removing hair around it. Accidentally scratching off a raised mole can result in bleeding and damage under the layer of the skin, which makes the skin vessels vulnerable to injury. It can be painful but, it is unlikely to be dangerous or lead to any further damage.
When the surrounding skin underneath the mole is injured, it looks like it is bleeding. The skin vessels under the mole may also weaken and become susceptible to injury. There are times when the mole is itchy, and you end up breaking the skin surrounding it by scratching too hard.
A bleeding mole may be painful, but it can be treated at home. Moles bleeding or oozing fluids due to injury are not a cause for concern, and they heal on their own. However, you should visit a doctor if the moles are bleeding for no reason and continue to bleed. Moles that resemble open sores may be a sign of melanoma, a form of skin cancer, and must be checked by a specialist.
How Bleeding Moles Are Treated?
If you have injured yourself trying to scratch or remove a mole, you should follow the basic first aid steps. They include:
- Applying a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol to sterilize the wound;
- Putting some pressure on the area to stop the bleeding;
- Covering the affected area with a bandage but avoid getting adhesive on the surrounding skin;
- Call your primary care doctor or visit a dermatologist if the mole continues to bleed.
The last step is necessary because even though most common mole injuries do not require further treatment, a persistently bleeding mole may be a sign of skin cancer and should be checked by an expert. In such a case, your dermatologist may recommend a biopsy, a procedure in which a skin sample is collected to check for the presence of cancerous cells.
How Does a Biopsy Take Place?
The doctor will recommend removing the suspicious growth through an outpatient procedure. It may be done using surgical excision or shave excision, depending on the location, size, and type of mole.
- Surgical excision – For a surgical excision, the doctor will numb the area, cut off the mole with a scalpel, and stitch up the wound.
- Shave excision – The doctor will numb the area and shave off the raised mole with a sharp blade. Shave excision is usually reserved for smaller moles.
Once the mole is removed, it does not come back. If the mole grows back or the skin seems different after the biopsy, consult your doctor immediately.
3 Reasons You Should Not Remove a Mole at Home
Even if your moles are itchy or pesky, you should not try to remove them on your own at home. The reasons include:
- Shaving or cutting a mole can disfigure your skin and leave a scar if it is not done right;
- Removing a mole without sterile equipment in a nonsurgical environment can lead to infection and complications;
- If the mole is cancerous, removing it may result in the spread of cancerous cells in the skin, which could be very risky.
Can a Scratched Mole Cause Cancer?
Scratching a mole does not lead to skin cancer or any other abnormality. It can result in bleeding and infection, microscopic injuries, or an outright wound, depending on how hard it has been scratched. There is no evidence that a person develops cancer from scratching a mole.
It is commonly believed that all skin cancers begin as moles, but it is not true. There are different forms of skin cancer, the rarest and most deadly being melanoma. Cancerous moles contain melanocytes, which have a mutation in a cancer-related gene that can cause them to grow and multiply. It is necessary to know that a large majority of these melanocytes do not turn cancerous and just sleep. Only 20-30% of melanomas occur in pre-existing moles.
How to Identify Cancerous Moles
Melanomas are skin cancers that begin in the skin cells that produce pigment. The cancerous cells look like moles, or they may develop from moles. If your mole starts bleeding for no apparent reason, you must get it checked as the bleeding may be resulting from skin cancer.
You can use the “ABCDEs” to monitor new or existing moles. If any of the following signs are present, see a doctor for a professional evaluation:
- Asymmetry – A mole is asymmetrical if it has an odd shape or its two halves do not match;
- Border – One possible warning sign of cancer is if the outer edge of the spot is ragged. Cancer-free growths will have smooth and even borders;
- Color– A multi-colored or unevenly colored growth may indicate cancer, while non-cancerous growths will remain a single shade of brown;
- Diameter – A benign mark usually has a small diameter, while cancerous moles are typically large than a pea or a pencil eraser;
- Evolving – A cancerous growth may change in size, shape, color, or elevation over time.
If you notice any of the ABCDEs, call your dermatologist to have your mole properly checked and evaluated for cancerous growths. Early detection of cancerous moles is the best way to manage this potentially life-threatening disease, and you have better chances of successful treatment. A full-body scan by a specialist can help identify, remove and cure all cancerous areas.
Mostly scratched, scraped, or bleeding moles, resulting from superficial cuts or snags, can be cured at home by applying pressure and a bandage. If your mole is bleeding for no apparent reason or it starts to look like an open sore, contact a dermatologist to get it checked and diagnosed for any underlying condition like cancer. The specialists at the Century Medical and Dental Center focus on the risk factors like prolonged sun exposure and family history to ensure your moles are harmless and there is no cause for worry. They provide comprehensive advice on how to take care of moles, monitor them for abnormal growth, and recommend the best options for removal and treatment if necessary to help you live a better quality of life.