Melanoma Awareness 101
When was the last time you had your skin checked? May is Melanoma Awareness Month, which we here at SpaFinder are big advocates of, and it’s a great time to examine your skin for any signs of the most serious type of skin cancer.
Characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing tanning cells, melanoma can be fatal if not detected early. Too much sun exposure can cause normal skin cells to become abnormal, and these abnormal cells can quickly grow out of control and attack the healthy tissue around them. Join SpaFinder in our fight against this deadly but highly preventable disease and educate yourself.
How to Spot It
Follow this A-B-C-D-E guideline developed by the American Academy of Dermatology for identifying melanoma or other skin cancers:
Asymmetry: If the mole were folded in half, the sides wouldn’t match.
Border Irregularity: The mole’s edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
Color: The mole is a non-uniform mixture of brown, black, red, white or blue.
Diameter: The mole is wider than six millimeters (the size of a pencil eraser).
Evolving: The mole changes in size, shape, color or symmetry.
And, if you answer yes to any of these questions, you may be at a higher risk for melanoma than others:
- Is there a history of melanoma in your family?
- Do you have light eyes and skin?
- Have you had one or more severe sunburns?
- Do you frequently spend time in the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.?
- Do you live in the southwestern U.S.?
- Do you have many freckles?
- Have you been exposed to UV radiation from tanning beds?
How to Prevent It
- Wear cover-ups, wide-brimmed hats and tightly woven, dark fabrics in the sun
- Apply a sunscreen with at least an SPF 15 and reapply every few hours
- Perform routine self-examinations and get an annual head-to-toe skin check from your dermatologist
- Choose a moisturizer or mineral makeup with an SPF of 15+
- Avoid tanning salons and tanning beds
- Keep children six months and younger out of the sun when possible
- Limit your sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Don’t forget to apply sunscreen even when it’s not sunny out