When Should I Worry About My Mole?

Mole ExamNoticing some changes in a mole? It might be time to get it checked out.

When was the last time you performed a self-exam on your skin? If you don’t know, or if you haven’t been doing this, it’s important that you start. After all, early detection of melanoma and non-melanoma growths is vitally important for your health. Our Baton Rouge, LA, dermatologists Dr. William Massengale, Dr. Jessica LeBlanc and Dr. Ashley Record are here to offer some helpful tips on what to check for when it comes to suspicious moles.

Know Your ABCDEs

Learning your ABCs didn’t just come in handy as a child, it can also help you detect skin cancer, as well. Here are the ABCDEs that you should follow when it comes to checking your skin:

Asymmetry: One half of the mole doesn’t look the same as the other half (healthy moles are symmetrical)

Border: Moles that have jagged, poorly defined borders

Color: Moles that contain multiple colors (healthy moles should be a single color)

Diameter: Moles that are larger than 6mm (about the size of a pencil eraser)

Evolving: Moles that change in color, shape or size, as you get older (moles should stay the same over time)

Everyone should come in once a year for a routine skin cancer screening, even if they don’t have any risk factors. Of course, those with a personal or family history of skin cancer might want to come in more regularly for checkups. You’ll also want to make sure that you are dedicated to performing monthly self-exams. During your screening we can give you pointers for how to perform a comprehensive and thorough skin examination on yourself.

Of course there are ways to prevent skin cancer. Make sure that you are always wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day that has at least an SPF of 30 and protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply a generous amount to your face and body about 20 minutes before going outside and make sure to reapply every two hours (or immediately after getting out of the water).

Wear protective clothing that doesn’t allow the rays to penetrate as easily through the fabric. Don’t forget to sport sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat when going outside. When outside opt for shady areas rather than sitting directly in the sun. Whenever possible, try to avoid being in the sun for long periods of time between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.

Atlas Dermatology in Baton Rouge and Prairieville, LA, is here to provide comprehensive dermatology for the whole family. No matter if you are concerned about the health of your skin or just want to schedule your annual skin cancer screening, give us a call today.

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