dermatoscope for skin checks

Melanoma Awareness Month: Essential Skin Checks and Prevention Tips

Skin Checks at Simply Dermatology

May is Melanoma Awareness Month, a crucial time to discuss the importance of skin health and cancer prevention. We’re dedicated to helping you maintain not only the beauty of your skin but its health as well. This month, we emphasize the significance of regular skin checks and adopting proactive measures to protect against melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.

The Importance of Regular Skin Checks

Melanoma can develop anywhere on the skin and, if undetected early, can spread to other organs, making it dangerous and potentially life-threatening. However, early detection dramatically increases the survival rate. We recommend monthly self-examinations and annual professional skin checks. During a skin check, our dermatologists use a dermatoscope to get a clear, magnified view of moles or other suspicious spots. We look for any changes in size, color, shape, or symmetry—key indicators that further analysis is needed.

dermatoscope for skin checks

How to Perform a Self-Check

Performing a self-examination at home is simple and essential for early detection:

  • Examine all areas: Check your entire body, including areas not exposed to the sun. Use mirrors for hard-to-see places.
  • Look for new moles or changes: Be alert for new growths or changes in existing moles, paying attention to the ABCDEs of melanoma:
    • Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other.
    • Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, or blurred.
    • Color: The color is not the same throughout or has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red.
    • Diameter: The spot is larger than the size of a pencil eraser.
    • Evolving: Any change in size, shape, color, elevation, or another trait, or any new symptom such as bleeding, itching, or crusting.
mole vs melanoma skin check chart

Sun Protection: Your First Line of Defense

Preventing skin damage from the sun is a crucial step in reducing your risk of melanoma. Here are some effective strategies:

  • Use Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen: A broad-spectrum sunscreen like our Sheer Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply it generously on all exposed skin every day, even on cloudy days, and reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.
  • Seek Shade: Avoid the sun during peak hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.
  • Wear Protective Clothing: Long-sleeved shirts, pants, wide-brimmed hats, and UV-blocking sunglasses can provide additional protection.

Early Detection Tools and Resources

Simply Dermatology is here to support you in your skin health journey. We offer comprehensive skin checks and consultations to address any concerns you might have. Our team is equipped with the expertise and tools to guide you through the steps of effective skin monitoring and protection.

Melanoma Awareness Month is a reminder of the importance of skin care and cancer prevention. We encourage everyone to take this time to learn about the risks of melanoma and to practice proactive skin health management. Your skin protects you every day; it’s time to return the favor.

Together, let’s make skin health a priority this May and beyond.

If you’re interested in learning more or scheduling a skin check click here!

Another blog you might like to check out: what you need to know about skin cancer

-Dr. Papantoniou

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