Some of us have many moles while others have hardly any. Do you ever notice a mole that seemingly popped out of nowhere? Are you often worried about the risk of skin cancer? Here are some tips on preventing moles from sprouting and becoming cancerous.
Almost everyone gets moles and how many moles you get is determined by a few combinations. First, they are caused by NEVUS cells that are already there at birth. NEVUS cells are basically melanocytes, which are a skin cell that create the darker color called melanin on your skin. They grow or change from the environment or genetics, but mostly form from ultraviolet light exposure. However, you could get moles where you don’t get much sun exposure too.
Remember that moles and freckles aren’t the same thing, but both are influenced by sun exposure. In general, freckles don’t pose any serious risks and are flat dots in the skin, high in the epidermis. Moles are a darkened bump and can be deep in the epidermis and can pose skin cancer threats.
The most important way to protect yourself from skin cancer and developing moles is to protect yourself from ultraviolet light exposure. Use sunscreen and wear hats and other protective clothing, starting at a very early age. You could see damage in your adult years that started when you were a child. Think of this: that sunburn you got when you were a kid probably won’t show any sun damage on your skin until 30 years later, so be careful now. Use at least a SPF 30 and make sure to get waterproof and re-apply often. Also look for moisturizers with SPF and ones that protect and correct from past sun damage.
Wear a hat whenever you’re outside for a long period of time or invest in a good quality hair product with SPF to protect your scalp. People often forget about wearing SPF on their scalp and it isn’t easy to spot any moles or skin cancer spots on your head because of your hair. Hats work great to protect your scalp, behind your ears, your nose and other vulnerable spots. Invest in a great broad rim hat and don’t forget the SPF!
If you already have some moles, how do you know which ones you should be concerned about? Visit a dermatologist at least yearly and use the A-B-C-D-E rule when checking your moles all over.
A is for asymmetry: a mole that isn’t circular and has irregular edges is something you should look for.
B is for border: an irregular border.
C is for color: a regular mole should be brown or dark brown. If a mole looks black or blue, have it looked at by a professional.
D is for diameter: if it is larger than the eraser on a pencil, you may want it checked out.
E is for evolving and changing: if your mole changes over time in any way, get it looked at. Especially if the shape has changed or if it bleeds.
If you visit your dermatologist, they may recommend some moles be removed or you can have them removed for cosmetic purposes. This can save your life if a mole has traces of skin cancer or could develop it in the future. This is especially necessary if skin cancer runs in your family.
To prevent moles, exfoliate and moisturize daily, use sunblock and glycolic acid, wear protective clothing and hats when outdoors. This will help reduce the number of moles that are formed on your skin and reduce your risk of getting skin cancer.
Do you have any moles? Have you ever gotten any removed? Share with us!