Apple cider vinegar can chemically burn the skin, which can remove moles and cause complications. Doctors recommend professional removal so moles can be tested for skin cancer.

Moles — also called nevi — are common skin growths that typically look like small, round, brown spots.

Moles are clusters of skin cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes are cells that produce and contain the melanin that determines our skin color.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) starts with cider made from pressed apples. It goes through a double fermentation process that yields acetic acid and the final product: vinegar.

ACV is a considered by many to have a number of far-reaching health benefits. One application that is described on a multitude of websites is the use of ACV to remove moles.

ACV for mole removal uses the acetic acid in the ACV to chemically burn the area of skin with the mole.

A 2015 case study of a young woman who used ACV to remove a mole and developed complications, found that “… many ‘home remedies’ are ineffective and potentially dangerous, resulting in scarring, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and even possible malignant transformation.”

Perhaps the most important reason not to use apple cider vinegar, or any method, to remove a mole yourself is that you will not know if the mole was cancerous.

If there’s a chance that the mole was cancerous, chemically burning it off with APV will leave behind some melanoma.

When your doctor removes a cancerous mole, they remove the mole plus some of the tissue underneath the mole to make sure that all cancerous cells are gone.

If you want a mole removed, see a dermatologist. Don’t try to remove it yourself.

First your dermatologist will visually inspect the mole to determine if it has any of the identifying signs that it could be melanoma.

Next your dermatologist will typically remove the mole with either a surgical excision or a surgical shave. Either way, your dermatologist will have your mole tested for cancer.

If you have a mole that isn’t changing — color, shape, size, scabbing — and doesn’t bother you cosmetically, leave it alone.

If the mole is changing, see your dermatologist as soon as possible. Changes could be a sign of melanoma.

If melanoma is caught early, it’s almost always curable. If not, it can spread to other parts of the body, and can be fatal.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, melanoma causes over 9,000 deaths every year in the United States, the most of any skin cancer.