it always saddens me how many of our clients say they don’t know how their skin feels or what skin type they have. but you do know! in fact, nobody knows your own skin better than you & man that’s deep. but I digress. did you know that more than half of all diagnosed melanomas are first identified by, well, us? score one for Dr. Google.
however, there are cases where a DIY-approach could be not only a dead end, but a danger. here are a few key ways to keep an eye out for signs you might need more than some soothing body balm or an exfoliating foaming scrub.
self-exams: use a combo of handheld & full-length mirrors (or make it fun & use your partner) to check every inch of your skin, taking note of any rashes, irritations, & new or changing moles. there’s even an acronym that’s as easy as “ABCDE” to help you figure out if a mole is suspicious:
- asymmetry: a normal mole is symmetrical, meaning both halves match in size, shape & color.
- border: a smooth border is normal. is the border jagged, irregular or blurred?
- color: a normal mole is evenly colored. does the color vary?
- diameter: is the mole larger than 6mm, the size of a pencil eraser?
- evolving: pay attention to any changes in the mole’s appearance, or feelings of itchiness & pain.
risk factors: some people also have factors that increase their likelihood of developing malignant melanomas. for these folks, it makes sense to perform self-exams AND see a doc for regular check-ups:
- 50-plus moles
- a history of x-ray treatments for illnesses or acne
- personal or family history of skin cancer & non-malignant melanomas
- a history of sunburns early in life, or a history of indoor tanning
- taking immunosuppressive medications
remember, it pays to trust your intuition if you notice something on your skin that triggers one of those quiet, nagging doubts (you know the kind). at the very least, you get a chance to relax with some waiting room gossip mags (who’s the latest celeb to have gotten far too much plastic surgery? 😉 if your concerns were right, you may have caught a little mole before it turns into a big problem! yes, you DO have the time…