What a Winter Mole Evaluation Can Say About Last Summer

Woman with a mole What a Winter Mole Evaluation Can Say About Last Summer

A summer of sunbathing and outdoor adventures can make tons of memories. But without adequate sun protection, those summertime memories might show up on your skin. Sun damage can lead to spots like moles, as well as skin cancer. Here’s how a winter mole evaluation can help.

What to Know About Moles

Causes of New Moles

Moles are a common type of skin growth that aren’t always problematic. These spots are typically raised and brown or black in color. Moles can show up anywhere on the body and appear well into adulthood. However, it’s still important to take note of any new moles.

Some common causes of new moles include:

  • Sun damage
  • Family history
  • Genetic mutations
  • Certain medications (specifically immunosuppressants, hormones, antibiotics, and antidepressants)
  • Age

Moles may also be more likely to develop in individuals with fair skin. In general, it can be challenging to determine why you might be developing new moles, but prolonged sun damage is a common factor. Performing self-checks and seeing a dermatologist annually are key to spotting unhealthy moles.

How a Dermatologist Can Help

A new mole can be worrisome, so it’s important to see your dermatologist when a new spot pops up. The doctor can perform a mole evaluation and scan your body for suspicious moles. They will then take a mole biopsy on any spots they’re concerned about. Mole removal may also be necessary as prevention or treatment.

While you will need a dermatologist’s assessment to spot skin cancer moles, there are some signs that you can look for as well. Dermatologists recommend the ABCDE system when assessing a mole:

  • A - Asymmetrical: Healthy moles are typically symmetrical in shape. Check whether the halves of the mole match.
  • B - Border: Normal moles have an even border, while unhealthy moles often have an irregular border.
  • C - Color: Look out for moles that aren’t one even color or include a blend of multiple colors.
  • D - Diameter: Moles should be about a quarter inch in diameter, which is about the size of a pencil eraser. Moles that grow larger may be cause for concern.
  • E - Evolving: Take note of moles that are changing in any way (shape, size, color).

Keep in mind that while moles aren’t always signs of skin cancer, it’s essential to practice caution. Most people should see their dermatologists for annual mole evaluations or whenever they spot any of the above irregularities at home. However, your dermatologist may want to see you more often if you have a history of irregular moles or other skin cancer risk factors.

Between evaluations, be sure to take sun protection measures. This includes wearing sunscreen, covering your skin, and staying in the shade. These steps can prevent a summer in the sun from causing irregular moles in the winter, as well as other signs of sun damage.

If you’re due for a winter mole evaluation, the team at Pacific Dermatology Specialists can help. We offer skin cancer screenings, diagnostics, and treatment among our selection of medical and surgical dermatology services. Our skin experts also provide cosmetic services to keep your skin looking radiant throughout the year. With locations in Torrance, CA and the surrounding communities, we’re proud to be accepting patients in the Greater Los Angeles Area. Contact us today to book an appointment.

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