How do I know when a spot needs to be checked?

For years, we have recommended that everyone do a skin check on themselves once per month to get used to the way things look.  In that way, a change is more likely to be noticed. We ask our patients to look for a change in size, shape, texture, color-anything that seems different. In Dermatology literature, we look for the A,B,C,D,E’s.

A-asymmetry.  Moles tend to look the same from all directions. If portions jut out in different directions, it can be meaningful.

B-border.  Edges of a mole tend to have a sharp definition from the mole to the normal skin.  If the border blends into the surrounding skin, or has a scalloped edge, that can be significant.

C-color. Moles tend to have an even color throughout. If a mole changes color, for example, if it gets darker in a portion, that can be significant. It can also be significant if a mole loses color or takes on a pinkish or reddish color,

D-diameter. Most moles are the size of a pencil eraser or smaller.  In some people, it is normal for them to have larger moles.

E-evolving. Refers to the sudden or gradual change in a mole.