"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

on the spot

What does this skin rash or growth mean, and when do you have to get it checked?

Even if you happen to're diligent about sun protection (and you need to be), you possibly can still develop spots, growths, or other skin abnormalities.

But are they all the time a cause for concern, or a standard a part of aging skin?

Watch for melanoma

To determine when to see your doctor or dermatologist, follow the ABCDE guide:

  • Asymmetric: The shape of 1 half doesn’t match the opposite half.
  • border: Edges are torn or faded.
  • the colour: Red, brown, blue, black, and even white, and the colours might be uneven.
  • Diameter: 6 mm (a couple of quarter of an inch) or larger, although some could also be smaller.
  • Evolution: Changes in size, shape or color.

You're at higher risk if melanoma runs in your loved ones, if you could have greater than 40 moles, or if you happen to've had frequent sunburns. If you fall into this category, it is best to get regular checkups with a dermatologist.

Still, it's not all the time easy to inform the difference between bad spots and good spots.

Here's a take a look at common skin growths that appear with age and what they mean.

Freckles Freckles themselves aren't normally a cause for concern, but look ahead to larger, irregular ones. “Think of freckles as stars in the sky,” says Dr. Tsao. “Many small ones are usually fine, but you want to pay attention to larger freckles and get them checked out to see if they grow. Or their shape changes.”

Large and irregular freckles, especially on sun-exposed areas resembling the face, upper shoulders, and arms, is usually a precursor to a special type of melanoma called lentigo melanoma. (See for melanoma.)

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Both are sorts of skin cancer, but the excellent news is that they are often not life-threatening and are easy to treat if caught early, Dr. Tsao says.

A BCC can appear to be a bleeding pimple, open sore, red rash, brilliant pink growth, or scar. On the opposite hand, SCC takes the shape of a crusted or rough red bump or patch, or it resembles a wart. Both cancers appear in areas that get frequent sunlight, resembling the face, earlobes, lower lip, scalp, neck, hands, arms, shoulders, back, and legs.

“Some BCCs and SCCs are slow-growing and allow for early-stage detection,” says Dr. Tsao. Still, they might be difficult to treat surgically if left alone, so get them checked out by a dermatologist.

Skin testing

Every one to 2 months, it is best to check your skin for brand new growths or changes in the form and color of spots or existing moles. Put it in your calendar. If you notice something that lasts greater than a number of weeks, see a dermatologist. Here's find out how to do a skin self-examination from the American Academy of Dermatology:

  • Examine yourself in front and behind in a full-length or large mirror, then raise your arms and look to the fitting and left.
  • Bend your elbows and examine your arms, underarms and palms.
  • Use a hand mirror to look at your neck and scalp. Part your hair for a more in-depth look.
  • Check your waist and hips with a hand mirror.
  • Look on the backs of your legs and feet, the spaces between your toes, and the soles of your feet.

Solar freckles. These dark skin spots are commonly called “age spots” and appear after sun damage and normal aging. Lentigines are larger than freckles and irregular in shape. Their color varies from tan to dark brown.

“They don't need to be treated, but if you're unhappy with their appearance, you can lighten them with some cosmetic procedures,” says Dr. Tsau. Talk to your dermatologist about options, but bear in mind that medical insurance likely won't cover the treatment.

Seborrheic keratoses (SKs). These are raised, rough lesions that appear as waxy brown, black, or tan growths. This common skin condition often appears after the age of fifty on the trunk, back, face or neck.

The excellent news is that although SKs may increase in number over time, they usually are not cancerous or contagious. They might be removed with liquid nitrogen or shaved off by a physician, but latest ones are sure to seem.

Actinic keratoses (AKs). Also referred to as solar keratoses, these growths are rough, hard and sometimes painful. They might be either flat or barely raised and might appear in a wide range of colours, resembling red, tan, pink, skin-colored, brown, or silver. AKs are the results of long-term sun exposure. They often appear on the face, suggestions of the ears, bald spots, and the backs of the arms and hands.

“You may find a few here and there, or multiple scattered over large areas of skin like a field of dandelions,” says Dr. Tsao.

Diligent use of sunscreen can remove small patches, but not large ones. Although these spots usually are not dangerous at first, it is best to handle them and get them treated, because if left alone, they’ll result in squamous cell cancer.

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