Nose Mole Removal - Update

I wanted to post an updated picture of my nose-mole removal (over a year since my last peel to remove it), and I'm including the photos and information from my previous posts.

It was small, but it bothered me, so I saw my dermatologist first for the move removal; he burned off the mole with a laser, only for it to return within about 6 months. Did I get my $250 back when the mole returned? NO.

Since my dermatologist's laser wasn't successful in permanent mole removal--it came back--I'd been trying to remove it with 50% TCA mole removal treatments.  Here are the before and after pictures of my MULTIPLE 50% TCA chemical peel mole removal treatments:


Mole Before Mole Removal Treatments

A year later - click to enlarge

Although my dermatologist didn't perform a successful mole removal, I still think it's a good idea to have any suspicious mole checked by a doctor.

Mole Before Mole Removal Treatments

There are several products to use for mole removal, but they're all very strong.

I attempted mole removal myself a couple of months ago, but I quit after two sessions, and it came back. I applied a solution of 50% TCA Chemical Peel for mole removal, on two separate occasions. The mole peeled twice.

Mole Peeling After TCA Mole Removal Treatment

The mole did get smaller, but the mole removal wasn't successful with the strength and number of applications. I lost interest since I’d gotten the mole down to a size that I couldn’t see it without my makeup mirror.

3rd Mole Removal Treatment

It kept growing. I decided that the solution strength wasn't high enough for mole removal, and I was washing it off (thanks to one reader who suggested leaving it on overnight). So I applied a 50% TCA chemical peel solution to the mole, and I left it on. 

Mole Frosting after TCA Chemical Peel Mole Removal

It's interesting to me that as soon as I applied the solution, the mole seemed to get smaller when it frosted. It actually didn’t hurt when I applied the mole removal solution and left it on. I did feel the solution on the mole, but not like the normal chemical peel sting and burn. It felt more like a pinprick, and as quickly as the pain came…it disappeared.

The frosting stayed visible on the mole much longer since I didn’t rinse it. After about 10 minutes, I applied my CU3 Copper Peptide Lotion, yet the mole remained white for about an hour.

Mole 2 Days After Treatment

This is the mole two days after the mole remover treatment.  As you can see, although it's smaller, this single treatment was NOT enough.
4th Mole Removal Treatment

Here's the 4th mole removal treatment, applied again only THREE days after the last treatment. I'm trying to be more aggressive with it this time!
Mole Frosts after 3rd Mole Removal Treatment
I left the mole removal treatment on overnight again but applied CU3 copper peptide lotion
about an hour after the treatment.

This picture is three days after the application:
4th Mole Removal Treatment
The scab is starting to form, and I can see where I accidentally got a drop of the solution above the mole; fortunately, I saw it when it happened and put a cream on it immediately. Although there's a slight dryness there, it didn't penetrate as deeply as the area on the mole.

Day 4 after the 4th mole removal treatment. The slight scab fell off.

Day 4 after Treatment
I ended up doing one last application several days after the photo above, although I'm not sure if I needed to or not, but after having it come back twice, I didn't want to take a chance.

Here's my nose more than a year after the last application! So happy I persisted with this mole removal, although I can see from this picture that I need to work on blackhead removal (yuck).

One year + after last TCA application

Acne and Probiotics

According to Dr. Whitney Bowe, a New York-based dermatologist and researcher, many dermatologists are prescribing probiotics with antibiotics. This pairing can help calm antibiotics' negative side effects, like yeast infections—but they may also have an unintended benefit for acne sufferers. After they'd finish the antibiotics, my patients would come back and say they were still taking the probiotics, because they were really helping their skin clear up." 

Probiotics are organisms, such as bacteria or yeast that may improve health; "They are also believed to help the immune system."

How Probiotics Work
"Oral probiotics can regulate the release of inflammatory cytokines within the skin."

This inflammatory cycle may begin with diet, hormones, stress, anxiety, immune system, and/or other factors, which cause an imbalance in the inner microbial colonies, which is when potentially harmful bacteria may have the opportunity take over, causing a cascade of problems..

"When that happens, levels of system-wide inflammation increase," Bowe says, including in the skin. "By taking oral probiotic supplements or by eating probiotics in the diet, we can theoretically restore a healthy environment in the gut and keep the skin from getting inflamed."

The intestinal-skin connection isn’t a new finding: in 1961, a study found that 80% of acne patients, after being given a probiotic, showed clinical improvement.

Other recent studies found that probiotics help acne patients heal faster, produce less sebum (oily secretions), and have fewer acne lesions.

This probiotic, Ultimate Florida Critical Care, has the best reviews on Amazon, but it's not cheap. I think I'd be willing to try it for a month since it's dairy and gluten free. For those who can tolerate dairy, a daily meal or snack of sugar-free Greek yogurt sweetened with stevia and garnished with healthy berries would probably suffice.

Glycolic Acid a Miracle for Acne-prone Skin

Two days ago, I had a fairly common reaction I get when I go without using glycolic acid once a week: acne and red, splotchy skin. I was out of glycolic acid and had been for a couple of weeks before I ordered more, so it I went about three weeks without a peel, and here's how I looked:

Before Glycolic Acid Peel

I received my glycolic acid that evening and immediately applied it. The next day, it was much better, but the following day, it was as if I'd never been without it. See below for my AFTER picture.

Why Is Glycolic Acid Better than Other AHAs?
Glycolic acid has the smallest molecule in the AHA (alphahydroxy acid) family, so it is the most bio-available AHA, which means it is able to penetrate the pores easier than any of the others. I use this 40% gel; I've found lower percentage ineffective for me, but they work for others.

AHAs with greater bioavailability appear to have deeper dermal effects. Glycolic acid (GA) with topical application to photodamaged skin, has been shown to produce increased amounts of mucopolysaccharides and collagen, resulting in increased skin thickness without detectable inflammation, as monitored by skin biopsies.
<Ditre CM, Griffin TD, Murphy GF, Vasn Scott EJ: Improvement of photodamaged skin with alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA): A clinical, histological, and ultra-structural study. Dermatology 2000 Congress. Vienna, Austria. May 18–21, 1993:175.>

Once applied, glycolic acid reacts with the upper layer of the epidermis, weakening the binding properties of the lipids that hold the dead skin cells together. This allows the stratum corneum to be exfoliated, exposing live skin cells. 

Which One Should I Buy?

In addition to concentration, pH also plays an important role. Physician-strength peels can have a pH as low as 0.6 (strong enough to completely keratolyze the epidermis), while the acidity level for home peels can be as high as 2.5. My glycolic acid's pH is 1.5.

It really depends on skin type, sensitivity, and goals. The first time I used glycolic acid, I bought a 30% 1.5 pH product. Since my goals also include improving hyperpigmentation and fine wrinkles, I've moved up to 40%, although I've seen 70% on Amazon, but this is unbuffered and listed for body only; since I don't see a pH level listed, I'm not sure I'd use this on my face, but I think it would do miracles for my feet! 

I used this nightly glycolic acid cream before turning to weekly peels, and I loved it, but weekly was easier for me. I always read the reviews to make sure a product has made a similar difference for someone else.

What it Can Improve
Glycolic acid is used to improve the skin's appearance and texture. It may reduce wrinkles, acne scarring, hyperpigmentation and improve many other skin conditions, including actinic keratosis, hyperkeratosis, and seborrheic keratosis.

Although a single application of GA will produce beneficial results, multiple treatments every 2 to 4 weeks are required for optimal results.
<What Is Glycolic Acid All About? By Peter T. Pacik, M.D., F.A.C.S.>

My AFTER Photos:
Day 2 after Glycolic Acid

Day 2 after Glycolic Acid

Acne and Rosacea Caused by Mites?

Not science fiction at all, I found after doing a little research (see below). I am definitely a bug-phobe, so when a friend at the gym said, “Your acne may be caused by mites that live on your face,” I had a little shudder, and then she went on to tell me that the bugs crawl around on my face, coming out of my pores to mate at night while I sleep. OMG! I started itching right away. Of course my itching was psychosomatic, but many people on forums I read say that they have tingling or itching that precedes acne or rosacea flares.

What preempted that friend’s comment? Here’s a picture of my face, having gone three weeks without my weekly glycolic acid peel:

Other side and chin look the same

My work-out buddy was surprised to see my face in this condition, although I certainly was not and knew that I needed a peel, but I had let mine run out and was waiting for it to arrive in the mail. Okay, on to the research.

What the Research Shows

I did a Google Scholar search for mites and acne, and I learned that, in fact, a type of mite lives on our skin and is associated with both acne and rosacea. In the  scientific study "A Meta-analysis of the Association between Acne Vulgaris and Demodex Infestation," the scientists concluded that “…acne vulgaris is associated with demodex infestation.” The demodex mite burrows into and lives in our pores or hair follicles and comes out at night to mate.  < Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE B, March 2012, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 192-202.>

This is what the Demodex Mite looks like:
Adult Demodex Mite

According to the article, "Association of Demodex Folliculorum in Acne/Rosacea and Folliculitis and the Efficacy of Combined Therapy (Metronidazole and Benzyl Benzoate)," “84% of patients [with acne/rosacea and/or folliculitis] had positive results for Demodex folliculorum.”  The aim of the study was the evaluation of the role of Demodex infestation in acne/rosacea, folliculitis, perioral dermatitis.
In this clinical study, "148 outpatients were enrolled and the direct microscopic examination of the lesions was done.... Conclusion: Demodex folliculorum infestation has to be considered in resistant acne/folliculitis..."

Demodex was first identified over 150 years ago, but only recently has it attracted wider interest as a contributor to chronic diseases such as acne rosacea or marginal blepharitis.

Eyelash Infestation

Yes, they also live in the eyelash hair follicles. On EyeWorld, I found an article and photos about eyelash infestation (called demodex blepharitis), which can accompany acne and rosacea--or occur alone. According to the Dr. Tseng, "The Demodex lay their eggs on oil, they eat oil, and they live on oil." Here's a picture of what they look like:
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They also live on our heads and may be associated with hair loss and dandruff.

Dr. Tseng says that Tea Tree Oil is considered "the go-to treatment." He says, "It can kill mites and and also has other antimicrobial activity." Use extreme caution if with tea tree oil near the eyes--it can cause blindness. For patients with demodex blepharitis (mites on eyelashes), Dr. Tseng recommends Cliradex, which contains the active ingredient in Tea Tree Oil, 4-Terpineol, also called terpinen-4-ol. Reviews on this product say that they're strong and should be used just before bed when the eyes can be kept shut to avoid stinging and tearing.

For recurring acne that has been resistant to normal treatment, this may be something to investigate. Mine is under control with weekly glycolic acid peels, but in doing this research, I read many dermatological papers on the efficacy of using tea tree oil (TTO), for those of us who prefer self-treatment. Some say that the solution can be as low as 10-20% TTO (mixed with a carrier oil or moisturizer, but not water) and should be applied nightly just before going to bed, since that’s when the mites are most active.  Some people on forums say that a mask of 50% TTO once a week is also effective, but I would treat this high percentage as a chemical peel and test first on sensitive skin inside the elbow or wrist! I have used TTO at this percentage mixed with rosehip oil, but it is strong. I may try the 10-20% nightly, mixed with my moisturizer to see if I have any results, without using my glycolic acid peels.

I am always careful handling 100% Tea Tree Oil, especially around the eyes. I’ve read that we should never apply 100% TTO to the skin, but I have used it at the percentage as a spot treatment, but it causes redness, drying, and subsequent peeling—so treat as a strong chemical peel at this percentage.

Is Needle Rolling Effective?

According to JAMA Dermatology, "Needling devices that prick the skin with 1mm or 2mm needles on a roller improved acne scars in a recent trial."

I have this derma roller, and I use it because I believe that it also helps wrinkles--and I have a few small acne scars on chin.

I think this is a great treatment between chemical peels because there's practically no downtime: my skin is red for only a couple of hours. There is some micro swelling, which sort of plumps up the skin a bit, so this may also be good option when I want nice glow with fewer wrinkles for a special event ;)

Image Courtesy of

Dermatologists, blinded to treatment procedures, reported a "significant improvement in scars treated with these devices," researchers said. "For each of the patients in the trial, half the face was randomly assigned to needling; the other half of the face received no treatment. Patients underwent three treatments, each spaced two weeks apart. Three and six months later, two dermatologists rated the scars of both the treated and untreated sides of the patients' faces.

Although patients can have this done at a doctor's office for less than the cost or downtime of lasers, these simple rollers can be purchased for less than $15! 

How I Use my Derma Roller

After cleansing my face, I roll mine about 5 times in one direction, change directions, and repeat until I can't tolerate it anymore.

I may see one or two tiny spots of blood, but not always; it is red afterward though, and it hurts but not terribly. I immediately apply actives, such as DIY vit C and EGF (epidermal growth factor), followed by rosehip seed oil to moisturize.

I immediately spray the roller with alcohol and store it back in the plastic case to keep it clean.

I do not use mine as aggressively as I've seen others in videos. I use it once or twice a month.

Compared to Other Treatments

The trial didn't include other treatments, so they didn't compare needling to other methods, but the study did show a benefit, researchers say.

Compared to the scars at the start of the study, those treated with needling had improved significantly at six months (p=0.03) and not quite significantly at three months, as assessed by the global scarring grading system developed by Dr. Greg Goodman at the Skin and Cancer Foundation of Victoria, in Victoria, Australia.

Comparing microneedlers to lasers is tricky now without much data, but at least one trial is underway to compare the two. In the meantime, Dr. Alam guesses that a fractional non-ablative laser is probably more effective.

"On the other hand, needling is easy and cheap," Dr. Alam says.


I don't have costs for professional needling, but mine cost around $13. I've replaced mine twice (every 6 months) because I've read that it becomes dull after about 15 uses and should be replaced.

"Needling is so easy to undergo, and potentially so inexpensive, that even a modest benefit may be sufficient to make this a worthwhile treatment for some patients with limited budgets," reported Dr. Murad Alam of Northwestern University in Chicago, who led the study.