Summer is in FULL swing and with the higher UV index it's more important than ever to protect your skin ☀️ We sat down with board certified dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Houshmand, to chat all things skin health and skin cancer prevention.
"Skin cancer can affect each and every one of us. It can affect both males and females of every ethnicity. It's a myth to think that if you have darker or olive skin that you will not develop skin cancer or melanoma." - Dr. Houshmand
So, we all know SPF is super important (that's why you're here, right? 😉), but what else can you do at home to take preventative measure? A monthly skin exam! "Once a month, at home, pick a date and do a full body skin exam" says Dr. Houshmand. Let's walk through her tips and expertise on how to do a skin check at home following the ABCDE method.
Look for the following in your spots, moles and bumps:
A = Asymmetry: Spot is different from one side to the next
• If you were to fold the mole on itself it would be symmetrical
B = Borders: Irregular borders that are difficult to define
• Borders should be uniform, regular and round
• If the border is jagged or star shaped this is something of concern
C = Color: Variation in color or color change
• Everyone's moles will be a different color (if you are fair skinned you might have light brown moles, if you have darker skin you might have darker moles)
• What you really want to look out for in the color is if the mole is black, really dark brown, blue or changing
D = Diameter: More than 6mm or change in diameter
• The diameter should be on average a pencil eraser head size or smaller
E = Evolution: Your mole or spot is changing
• Look out for moles that are getting bigger or changing in shape, color and/or size
Find something that doesn't look quite right? Take a picture! Bring or show that picture to your dermatologist during your next appointment.
"80% of melanoma cases are actually found by patients themselves at home." - Dr. Houshmand
In addition to doing monthly at-home checks, Dr. Houshmand recommends scheduling your annual full body skin exam with your doctor. With stay-at-home orders, many dermatologists are currently offering telehealth visits. You can book a dermatology telehealth appointment with Dr. Houshmand here!
We hope you have a healthy and happy sun safe summer!
The COOLA Team