Skin cancer prevention now plays a much larger role in many people’s skin care routines than ever before, which is excellent for your health. When performing regular self-exams to monitor new and existing moles, it’s important that you know what to look for and when it might be time to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. Follow these five ABCDE guidelines to help you know when to get a mole checked out.
Benign moles tend to be symmetrical in shape, whereas potentially cancerous moles may become asymmetrical. If you notice that a mole that was once symmetrical is no longer so, have your dermatologist take a look.
2. Borders Irregular
Similarly, moles with irregular—meaning wiggly or erratic—borders surrounding them may be cause for concern. A healthy mole generally has a smooth, regular border (often circular).
You should also let your dermatologist know if you notice a mole that isn’t uniform in color. Sometimes, potentially harmful moles can be varying shades of brown or black and may even have patches of red, pink, blue, or white mixed in.
Generally speaking, moles that are smaller than the size of a pencil eraser are typically benign. Melanomas tend to be larger than this, although it is possible to have a smaller melanoma or a larger benign mole. Just remember to keep an eye on any large moles that you may have to make sure they’re not getting any bigger.
5. Evolving Moles
By regularly examining and recording your moles, you can increase the likelihood that you’ll catch one of these changes and will be able to show your dermatologist.