Why you should be concerned about skin lesions
Skin lesions, or spots on your skin that look different from the usual appearance of the skin, are a common occurrence, and are not usually cause for concern. BUT, that doesn’t mean you should brush them off. Skin cancer rates are alarmingly high. You should always pay close attention to skin lesions. Know their layout on your body and keep an eye out for any new or suspicious lesions. In this blog we’ll teach you how to spot concerning lesions, and when you should see your doctor.
What are the different types of normally occurring skin lesions?
Marks on the skin come in all shapes and sizes. They can be present at birth (like birth marks) or show up later.
Moles: these small, brown spots are naturally occurring and usually show up at birth and throughout childhood and the teen years.
Freckles: love them or hate them, freckles range from very light brown to medium brown and even reddish, and occur on the face and other areas of the body.
Skin tags: although they can be annoying, skin tags are harmless. They are small, raised, and flesh colored. They often occur along folds of the skin such as along the armpits or groin area.
Birthmarks: these are present at birth and not cause for concern. These can be of several types. Cafe au lait spots, for example, are a light to medium brown color (hence the coffee-with-milk name!) Strawberry spots are another common type of birthmarks. “Stork bites” occur on the nape of the neck. Mongolian spots are blueish, large spots that commonly occur on the back or buttocks.
When to get a skin lesion checked out?
It’s important to be vigilant in general and know the general layout of all current birthmarks, skin tags, moles, etc. on your skin. Any new skin lesions should be kept an eye on. In fact, some doctors recommend annual full body skin checkups by a dermatologist. However, there are 4 things in particular you should look out for in a skin lesion and if you find any of these characteristics you should get it evaluated by a doctor ASAP to rule out skin cancers. Look out for these ABCDEs of skin lesions:
- 1.Asymmetry: irregularity in shape is one possible sign of a lesion that is not benign. If you can’t draw a line of symmetry anywhere along your lesion, it’s best to get it checked out.
- 2.Borders: benign skin lesions tend to have round, clear cut borders. Malignant skin lesions often have jagged edges or edges that fade into the skin. Keep an eye on the borders of your skin lesion.
- 3.Color: normal skin lesions are all of one uniform color. A lesion that could be cancerous may have a darker or lighter spot in one part of the lesion. Also, keep an eye out for new lesions that are a different color from other lesions on your body. Your moles etc. will tend to all be a certain color, anything differing from this should be examined.
- 4.Diameter: size matters when it comes to skin lesions. A skin lesion greater than ¼ of an inch—about the size of the eraser at the end of a pencil—should be checked out by your doctor.
- 5.Elevation: finally, a skin lesion that is elevated or that has uneven texture may be cause for concern.
Any of these issues could be cause for concern or could be nothing, but should always be checked out by your healthcare provider. Having one of the factors from the ABCDE list doesn’t necessarily spell bad news, but should be seen to rule out anything serious. The more signs that your skin lesion has, however, the more seriously you should take it. A skin lesion may be elevated may be nothing to worry about, yet one that is elevated, larger than ¼ inch, and uneven in color should mean an immediate call to your doctor or a dermatologist.
Sunscreens to prevent skin lesions:
- Revision Skincare- Intellishade Original SPF 45
- Colorescience- Total Protection™ Brush-On Shield SPF 50
- Alastin Sunscreen SPF 36
- EltaMD- UV Daily SPF 40
- Epionce- Daily Shield Lotion Tinted SPF 50
For more blogs on skin care, check out this link!