Marie Claire is supported by the audience. When you make a purchase using the links on our website, we may earn commissions on some of the items you choose to purchase.
Most of us have moles, these are really common spots on the skin. But when it comes to sun protection, we are told to be careful. Shape, color, similar. But if knowing how to properly check for moles is just as important as the best sunscreens, what exactly are we looking for and why?
According to NHSit is perfectly normal for babies to be born with moles, new moles appear, the moles disappear or disappear with age over time and darken during pregnancy.
Most birthmarks are completely harmless, but can develop into a type of skin cancer known as melanoma.
Why is melanoma so worrying? Consultant dermatologist and author skin care The Bible, Dr. Anjali Mahto explains that “what worries us about melanoma is its ability to spread to other organs or metastasize.” Melanoma can spread to the liver, lungs, bones and brain, where it can be fatal. The good news is that most melanoma is taken at an early stage, well before it happens.
“There is no national melanoma screening program in the UK. The best way to get an early melanoma is to know the symptoms and when to see a doctor. I can’t stress enough how vital this is. For those who have private health care, many opt for an annual mole checkup at a dermatologist as part of a preventive health checkup. Training yourself and your loved ones is very important to reduce the incidence of melanoma. The skin is an organ of vision and any changes in the surface should theoretically be easier to detect than any other organ that would require an internal scan.
The study was conducted by Shoes found that 40% of the people they spoke to said they never expected signs of melanoma, and when they did, 77% said they would not recognize them.
When you think skin cancer is the fifth most common form of cancer in the UK (as reported by UK cancer research), these statistics are not excellent; That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide on how to check for moles.
Also sunscreen (and with the most advanced SPF formulas – as the best SPF finished make-up – there is certainly no excuse) and covering the moles with clothing, the moles should be monitored for any significant changes.
Below, ScreenCancer JKDonna Smart, a skin specialist and consultant, explains the ABCDE method for mole changes.
Moles of ABCDE
The acronym ABCDE is a convenient way to remember the warning signs of mole change; asymmetry, edges, color, diameter, and evolving.
Generally, if you draw an invisible line through the center of the mole, both sides should usually be the same.
Beware of blurred, irregular, or cracked edges of normal skin.
Watch for any color changes, especially black, blue, or uneven colors.
Melanoma is usually larger than 5-6 mm in diameter, about the size of a pea. Note any size changes.
Pay attention to any existing moles or lesions in size, color, crust, itching, or bleeding, or if a new mole / lesion occurs. Photography will help you keep track of any changes.
How often should moles be checked?
It is very important to get used to checking moles regularly. Consultant dermatologist, doctor Adam Friedmann Stratum Dermatology Clinic recommends checking in front of a mirror once a month, where it is easier to spot anything new or different.
Once you know how to check for moles, Dr. Mahto recommends setting up the system. “Examine the front and then the back to make sure you don’t miss a certain part of your body. It can be helpful to have a trusted person look at your back and other hard-to-see places. Don’t forget places like buttocks, genital areas, palms and soles. Some people think that shooting once a year is a good way to capture their skin. The first few months will be just an exercise to get used to where your moles and blemishes are and what is normal for your skin. This becomes easier over time, although it can be difficult for those with a lot of moles.
“A carry-on message about mole testing,” says Dr. Friedmann. “If you can recognize the initial signs of a mole change and get an early melanoma, it can be completely cured. But if you don’t notice the signs and get it late, you’ll have a much higher chance of it spreading and being deadly.
If you are not comfortable with the above and want advice, clinics and beauty centers offer mole mapping services. This includes a computer that takes pictures of your body and analyzes any changes.
If you find disturbing moles, it is always advisable to consult a doctor. It is always better to be careful than to regret.
Here we all need to be more aware of moles.