With the recent arrival of the summer sunshine, it’s crucial to protect your skin and keep an eye on any changes – particularly when it comes to moles. To focus on the importance of skincare protection during the warmer weather, we're sharing some advice on how best to stay protected this summer.
It's not always easy to recognise changes in your skin, particularly knowing if a mole or mark on your body is new, or if it’s changed if it’s in a hard-to-reach area. However, it’s essential to get to know your own body and stay vigilant for any changes in moles, marks, or skin tags.
During the pandemic, many people delayed making appointments for skin concerns. We recommend regular mole mapping appointments, as staying proactive in monitoring your skin can help detect early signs of skin cancer and melanoma.
Knowing what to look out for is simple as ABCDE:
Asymmetry – Melanoma is often asymmetrical, which means the shape isn’t uniform. Non-cancerous moles are typically uniform and symmetrical in shape.
Border – Melanoma often has borders that aren’t well defined or are irregular in shape, whereas non-cancerous moles usually have smooth, well-defined borders.
Colour – Melanoma lesions are often more than one colour or shade. Benign moles are typically one colour.
Diameter – Melanoma growths are usually larger than 6mm in diameter, which is about the diameter of a standard pencil.
Evolution – Melanoma will often change characteristics, such as size, shape, or colour. Unlike most benign moles, melanoma tends to change over time.
Be particularly vigilant if any of the below apply to you:
- You have a large number of moles on your body
- You have used sunbeds in the past and suffered skin burns
- You have a family history of skin cancer and melanoma
- You have moles with an unusual appearance
- You spend prolonged periods outdoors in the sun
- You have red or blonde hair
- You have pale skin which tends to burn in the sun
However, it's important to remember that skin cancer and melanoma do not always fit the ABCDE rule. If you notice anything that feels unusual, including itching or bleeding, it's always best to seek further medical advice.