You might think you know your moles… but do you? If you are not regularly evaluating your body and keeping an eye on old vs. new spots on your skin, you may be putting yourself at risk. It’s not difficult to be your own “mole detective” and stay keenly aware of moles that seem to be new, different, growing in size, or changing shape.
Be Proactive About Your Moles
Nobody knows your body better than you, so if you notice anything that seems out of the ordinary on your skin, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. If you have a family history of skin cancer, if you’ve spent a considerable amount of time in the sun during your lifetime (either with or without sunscreen), if you have fair skin, or if you have a significant number of moles on your body, it’s especially important to give yourself a self-exam once a month.
Most Moles are Harmless, but Not All
Many people have moles on their skin that are perfectly normal and harmless – and do not require any sort of treatment or intervention. However, if moles are irregular in shape, have changed in color, hurt, bleed, or have an unusual appearance or texture, it’s time to get your mole(s) checked by a medical professional.
The ABCDs of Moles:
According to the American Melanoma Foundation, the “ABCDs” of Moles are as follows:
A for Asymmetry – one half is different from the other half.
B for Border Irregularity – the edges are notched, uneven, or blurred.
C for Color – the color is uneven; shades of brown, tan, and black are present.
D for Diameter – diameter is greater than 6 millimeters.
Other warning signs of potentially problematic moles:
- The mole or spot on the skin is new
- The darker color of the mole seems to spread into the skin that surrounds it
- The mole or surrounding skin is red or swollen
- The mole hurts, is tender, itches, bleeds, oozes, has a scaly appearance, or is painful
How to Complete a Self-Exam
Make sure to check your entire body for new moles. Moles may appear on your back or on the back side of your legs where you may not be able to see them easily. Therefore, it’s important to use a mirror to inspect your entire body. Keep track of all moles on your body so you know whether they are new or old. Some people take pictures of their moles so they can compare the way their moles look from one month to the next. If you notice any changes, it’s important to have your moles evaluated by a dermatologist without delay. Walnut Creek Skin and Laser offers a mole detection screening using MelaFind. MelaFind scans your mole in 10 different layers and then compares it thousands of moles in the MelaFind data base system. Click here to learn more about MelaFind.