Attention, sun bunnies (and reformed sun bunnies): If you haven’t performed a thorough skin check for potential cancers in some time, there is no time like the present. Not only do regular skin checks help you identify moles, you can also track them over time. If you do spot a suspicious mole, make an appointment with your dermatologist — the sooner, the better.
Step 1: Make a Map
A lot of us are born with moles that vary in size — that doesn’t make them dangerous. But when a mole starts to change, that’s when it becomes poentially dangerous. That’s why the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends making a map of where your moles are as well as notes on its color, size, and shape.
Step 2: Look All Over
While it’s true that most skin cancers occur on areas that get the most sun exposure, like the face, shoulders, ears, arms, and legs, you can still experience skin cancer in less obvious areas. These include between your toes, on your scalp or on your buttocks. Every skin surface has the potential to be cancerous. Leaving no stone unturned means you can rest assured your skin is cancer-free.
Step 3: Know What You’re Looking For
Healthy moles tend to be symmetrical, small, and even in color. A standard-size mole is typically no larger than a pencil eraser (although there are always exceptions). Potentially cancerous moles are the opposite. They are unusual in color with irregular borders and can be larger than an eraser in size. Oddly enough, cancerous moles can be as many colors as Katy Perry dyes her hair. While melanomas are often black, they can also be red, white, or blue.