Summer is here in Florida which means more time out in the heat and sun. In my last post, I shared a website that lists the safest sunscreens to use, after a study found that only 8% of sunscreens actually work. It is important to use a sunscreen to help protect your skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays. If you will be spending alot of time outdoors or even driving in the car, be sure to lather up in sunscreen and remember to re-apply often.
Many people know UVA/UVB rays are dangerous and may cause skin cancer but they never go to a dermatologist to have your skin examined for any potential moles that may lead to melanoma. The Skin Cancer Foundation (http://www.skincancer.org) gives you guidelines and pictures to help you know what to look for when doing your own daily scan. I want to encourage everyone to find a dermatologist and go atleast once a year for a skin check. Be safe this summer and protect your skin.
Here are the basics for what to look for when scanning your skin:
Warning Signs: The ABCDEs of Melanoma
Moles, brown spots and growths on the skin are usually harmless — but not always. Anyone who has more than 100 moles is at greater risk for melanoma. The first signs can appear in one or more atypical moles. That’s why it’s so important to get to know your skin very well and to recognize any changes in the moles on your body. Look for the ABCDEs of melanoma, and if you see one or more, make an appointment with a physician immediately.
If you draw a line through this mole, the two halves will not match.
The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven. The edges may be scalloped or notched.
Having a variety of colors is another warning signal. A number of different shades of brown, tan or black could appear. A melanoma may also become red, blue or some other color.
Melanomas usually are larger in diameter than the size of the eraser on your pencil (1/4 inch or 6 mm), but they may sometimes be smaller when first detected.
Any change — in size, shape, color, elevation, or another trait, or any new symptom such as bleeding, itching or crusting — points to danger.
Prompt action is your best protection. The pictures below show atypical normal moles and melanomas.
|Borders are even||Borders are uneven|
|One shade||Two or more shades|
|Smaller than 1/4 inch||Larger than 1/4|