10-07-2017 | Dermatologist | Acniover , Facial Care , Specific Care , Skin

How to identify suspicious spots (and how to act)

Now that the summer is near and our skin begins to tan, it is a good time to remember how skin reacts to the sun. We would like to recommend ways in which to identify whether the mole you have just found on your skin is a cause for alarm.

The appearance of sun spots or skin hyperpigmentation is very common, particularly as we get older as a result of the natural ageing process. However, we know that one of the first signs of a malignant melanoma is the appearance or changes in the shape or colour of spots or moles.

The rule: ABCDE

A change in the appearance of a blemish may be the first sign of a possible melanoma. The alarm signs are as follows:

  • A: Asymmetrical shape
    • It is a non-circular mole? Is it made up of different parts or sizes?
  • B: Border
    • Does it have irregular borders?
  • C: Colour
    • Does it have more than one colour?
  • D: Diameter
    • Is it greater than 5 millimetres in diameter?
  • E: Evolution
    • Have you noticed a change in size?

Full self-examination

Remember melanomas can appear anywhere on your body, as they begin in the melanocytes of the skin. Therefore, it is important to check your skin before exposing it to the sun in order to monitor the appearance, growth or change in colour of existing moles, particularly in the following areas:

  • Face, particularly your nose, lips and ear pavilions. Also check your scalp with the help of a comb.
  • Neck, back of the neck and cleavage.
  • Back, particularly your shoulders and hands. Women should check the lower area of their breasts and the intermammary fold.
  • Interdigital spaces (feet and hands).
  • Inguinal area and inside area of the leg to the knee, and the rear popliteal region.

Remember…

Melanomas are located in different areas according to sex. In men, melanomas are often found on the torso, between the shoulders, on the head and on the neck. On the other hand, in women, they are most likely to be found on the lower area of the legs.

Be extra careful if…

  • Your skin type is pale (I and II): the appearance of these lesions or others such as melanocytic naevi is common in this skin type, which can degenerate over time.
  • You suffered burns as a child: they increase the vulnerability of the innermost layers of the skin and tend to degenerate with the effect of the sun.
  • Ageing: dermis thickness and its skin barrier function decrease with age; therefore, the level of protection is lower and suspicious blemishes tend to appear more often.

Protect yourself

Given the importance of prevention and monitoring with this type of cancer, you should follow a series of recommendations to find out the most important signs. And, if in doubt, don’t take any risks; visit your doctor or your dermatologist.

  • Avoid exposure to sunlight during the middle hours of the day (between 12 and 16 h).
  • Protect yourself with physical measures (sunglasses, hats, t-shirts, etc.).
  • Avoid getting sunburnt by using sun protection products and apply them every 2-3 hours, depending on the situation and your skin type.

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DermatologistExpert in skin care

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