The color of your skin is determined by the amount of pigment your body produces. This may or may not change after birth. Babies may also be born with birthmarks on their skin that concern parents.
Whether someone is a child, teenager, or adult, it’s always a good idea to keep track of new marks on the skin if they weren’t there before. If you are concerned about a new mark that appeared, this skin lesions chart guide may help you determine when you should be most concerned.
Is It Just a Beauty Mark or Is It Cancer?
Remember the importance of pigment? It is responsible for our skin color and is controlled by melanocytes. There are also several skin lesions (which you may have now or may have recently noticed) that are also due to the work of melanocytes.
This includes common, non-harmful beauty marks such as freckles, skin stages, moles, benign lentigines, and seborrheic keratoses. Out of this group, moles are what doctors examine for changes in potentially being cancer the most.
Is My Mole Dangerous?
Moles are growths you may notice on the skin that comes in shades of brown to black. For most people, they appear in early childhood up to the first 20 years of life. However, it’s not unusual to notice new moles beyond this time.
Over time, moles do change and may become more elevated, lighter, or you may notice hair. For some, moles do not change, or if they do, they disappear over time slowly.
Most moles are benign, it can become dangerous if you notice unusual changes. Especially for moles that appear after 20.
Did you know only 25% of melanomas are found in existing moles? However, 75% is likely to show on “normal-looking” skin.
The two types of moles are congenital nevi and atypical nevi. Congenital nevi are moles present at birth. They are most likely to turn into melanoma, more so if the mole is larger than 8 inches.
Atypical nevi are moles that are bigger than average and irregular. They are also often uneven in color and are often hereditary.
Signs of Cancerous Moles and Skin Lesions
You should make skin exams a normal part of your routine when you have moles or skin lesions.
Complete a thorough exam at least once a month. You can also work with a local dermatologist who can help you do this as a part of your check-ups.
Skin Lesions Chart to Follow
Whether you check your skin on your own or with the help of a doctor, there is a skin lesions chart to follow. You’ll be able to determine warning signs of melanoma by following the ABCDE rule.
An asymmetrical mole is something you will notice when one doesn’t match the other side. For example, this is noticeable if you have one end that is dark while the opposite is light.
The border is the edge of the mole. You should watch for areas that are irregular, notched, blurred, or ragged.
The color of the mole is another thing to monitor. You may notice the mole is not the same throughout. It may have various shades of brown or black as well as patches of white, blue, red, or pink.
The diameter of the mole is the length you can measure. If the skin lesion is more than 1/4 of an inch across (the size of a pencil eraser), you should meet with a doctor.
You can measure what the diameter of a mole looks like with this guide. Keep in mind, there are times melanomas can be smaller, so look at all factors.
An evolving mole is one that changes in size, color, or shape. Although some moles change gradually over time, it’s concerning when the evolution is quick.
Understand the Different Types of Skin Cancers
It’s good to look at all changes on your skin. Squamous and basal cell skin cancers are common and very treatable.
The earlier you can catch it, the better. Both types tend to grow on areas that get the most sun such as the neck, face, and head. Still, they can appear just about anywhere.
Basal cell carcinomas are similar to scars and may be firm or flat and have yellow or white areas. They are often reddish, raised patches and may itch or small and translucent with pearly, shiny bumps. These bumps may contain abnormal blood vessels that are like spokes of wheels.
Squamous cell carcinomas are rough, scaly red patches that are often raised. Growths may appear wart-like. Both basal and squamous cell carcinomas may also be open sores that ooze or crust. They either never heal or always come back.
It helps to know the types of melanoma that exist because they will not always look the same. Knowing the type will help you understand how slowly or quickly the melanoma may spread too.
Always Be Aware of New Blemishes on Your Skin
There is no such thing as being “too careful” when it comes to your body and noticing changes. Sometimes a blemish on the skin is benign and nothing to worry about. Other times, it could be a malignant form of skin cancer.
Early detection is the best way to treat skin and being aware of warning signs makes a difference. If you’re uncertain, looking at a skin lesions chart is helpful. When you are still uncertain or need confirmation, speak with a dermatologist.
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