How are moles treated?

If a dermatologist believes the mole needs to be evaluated further or removed entirely, he or she will first take a biopsy (small tissue sample of the mole) to examine thin sections of the tissue under a microscope. This is a simple procedure. (If the dermatologist thinks the mole might be cancerous, cutting through the mole will not cause the cancer to spread.)

If the mole is found to be cancerous, the dermatologist will remove the entire mole by cutting out the entire mole and a rim of normal skin around it, and stitching the wound closed.

How are skin tags treated?

Your dermatologist can remove a skin tag by cutting it off with a scalpel or scissors, with cryotherapy (freezing it off), or with electrosurgery (burning with an electric current).

How are lentigines treated?

There are several methods for treating lentigines:

  • Cryotherapy (freezing it off)
  • Laser surgery
  • Creams that are applied to the skin (these include retinoids and bleaching agents)

What is the treatment for freckles?

Since freckles are almost always harmless, there really is no need to treat them. As with many skin conditions, it’s best to avoid the sun as much as possible, or use a sunscreen. This is especially important because people who freckle easily (such as lighter-skinned people) are more likely to develop skin cancer.

If you feel that your freckles are a problem or you don’t like the way they look, you can cover them up with makeup.

How are seborrheic keratoses treated?

Seborrheic keratoses are benign and are not contagious. Therefore, they don’t need to be treated.

If you decide to have seborrheic keratoses removed because you don’t like the way they look, or because they are chronically irritated by clothing, methods for removing them include cutting them off, cryotherapy, and electrosurgery.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/09/2018.


  • American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Dermatological disease database. Accessed 5/1/2018.
  • National Institute on Aging. AgePage: skin care and aging. Accessed 5/1/2018.
  • Woodhouse JG, Tomecki KJ. Common benign growths. In: Carey WD, ed. Cleveland Clinic: Current Clinical Medicine 2010. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:section 3.

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