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"Did I always have that freckle there?"

A quick guide to understanding your spots

Warmer weather is just around the corner; and while we know you'd never step outside without a protective sunscreen and proper apparel, it's just as important to remember that our skin needs us to check up on it sometimes-it is our largest organ, after all!

Thankfully, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Brandith Irwin has compiled a helpful little cheat-sheet for all of us to know what to look for. See her recent "Skincare Tip of the Week" write-up below:

Moles, Lumps, and Bumps! What to get checked ASAP

What are moles and what need to be checked? Seriously, there is a list of over 30 things (diagnostic codes) that cover moles, lumps and bumps. But to be practical, here's what to get checked asap.

  • Get checked any mole that is changing. Moles are very important because they sometimes deadly form of skin cancer (Melanoma) starts in moles or shows up as a new mole. Why is it deadly? Because it spreads (metastasizes) to other organs like the brain, lungs, liver etc. and that's what causes death.

  • Also, generally moles should be a pencil eraser size or less and be symmetric. This means that if you draw a line through the middle of the mole the two sides should match each other.

  • Moles should generally be one color, like an even shade of brown or dark brown. Multiple colors in the same mole or a white spot in a mole (regression) means the mole needs to be checked.

  • Moles that you are born with (congenital mole) can be larger and not symmetric and be ok, but just to be safe, have your doctor look at it.

  • Moles that are itchy, tender, painful, or bleeding (unless you snagged it on something) also need to be checked.

For more information on this, read my in-depth resource here

See my answers to readers on this topic here

All the best,

Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Co-Founder of SkinTour

Guest Expert on Oprah

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