Picking Moles

Picking at moles can cause pain, swelling, bleeding and lead to infection.

It can be hard to resist picking moles sometimes, but you need to try to resist the urge. Picking a mole can cause pain, swelling, bleeding, and even infection. If you have a mole that you think might be infected, see your doctor as soon as possible. You may need antibiotics to treat the infection. Here is more about the signs of infected moles and how to treat them.

Picking at moles can also make it difficult for a physician to determine if a mole is simply a common, harmless skin growth or if it might be a sign of something more serious, such as skin cancer. You see, bleeding moles, inflamed moles, and moles with uneven borders may indicate skin cancer and other serious conditions. But those things may also simply indicate you’ve been picking your moles. Let your doctor know if you’ve been picking at moles since that may interfere with his or her ability to make an accurate assessment of a skin condition.

How to Avoid Picking Moles

People are more likely to pick at moles if the moles itch, hurt, or feel irritated. Most moles don’t itch or hurt, however, and itching or pain can be a sign of something more serious. If you have a mole that itches or hurts, see your doctor. You might even be suffering from something other than a mole. Many different skin conditions can resemble moles. However, itching and pain can also be signs of skin cancer, so definitely get moles that itch or hurt checked out by a doctor as soon as you can.

Even if your doctor determines that the mole is benign (non-harmful or non-cancerous), as most moles are, if it is bothering you, you can have the mole removed.

Moles are often flat spots on the skin, but sometimes they stick out from the surrounding skin. You may find yourself more likely to pick at moles that are bumpy or protrude. If that’s the case, you may wish to have those moles removed, just so you don’t pick them.

Sometimes moles have one or more hairs growing from them. If you find yourself picking at moles because the hairs are bothering you, you can trim the hairs with nail scissors or pluck the hairs with tweezers. The hairs will probably grow back but trimming or plucking them may help you resist the urge to pick temporarily.

Until you are able to get a mole removed, don’t pick it! If you pick at the mole, it may become infected and then you may have to put off having it removed until the infection has cleared up. If necessary, put an adhesive bandage over a mole to discourage picking. Definitely put a bandage over any bleeding moles to keep them clean and prevent infection as well as to prevent any more picking.


Sometimes people feel compelled to pick at moles. They may feel compelled to pick at other perceived imperfections on their skin, as well, such as pimples or freckles. In some instances, this is due to a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder in which a person feels unable to resist thinking about (the obsessive part) and doing something (the compulsive part). Referred to as dermatillomania, skin picking disorder, or excoriation disorder, the causes of this condition are not well understood but the consequences can be serious. According to the OCD Center of Los Angeles, dermatillomania can lead to bleeding, bruising, infection, scarring, and permanent disfigurement of the skin.

If you find yourself picking moles or other areas on your skin and feel like you can’t stop, especially if you pick at many different areas or if it’s affecting your health (like causing infections) or making you feel self-conscious about your appearance, talk to your doctor. Having moles removed might help but probably won’t solve the problem completely. Make an appointment with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist to discuss whether or not you might suffer from dermatillomania, and if so, what your treatment options are. Treatment often includes cognitive behavioral therapy and/or medication.

Removing Moles

If you find yourself frequently picking moles and it’s difficult to resist the habit, you may wish to have the moles removed. Doctors can remove them surgically, but many people prefer to avoid both the discomfort and the expense of that kind of procedure. For removing moles safely and easily at home, we recommend using H-Moles Formula, an all-natural formula containing a unique blend of homeopathic remedies and essential oils. No prescription is required. For more information, just follow the link.

OCD Center of LA: Skin Picking Disorder