Spots and dots, being a freckled faced person I am no stranger to beauty marks, but understanding the difference between unique beauty features, and dangerous moles can be difficult, yet still important. Our bodies can have a strange way of expressing themselves, and often times (unbeknownst to us) moles are your bodies way of letting know something serious is going on.
A true beauty mark is with us since birth, but as we age we can produce marks and spots on our body that could mean anything or nothing. There is an old wives tale that suggests that raised moles are the ones to worry about. Well according to New York based dermatologist, Neal Schultz, this just a that, a tale. According to Dr. Schultz,”It’s usually the flat moles that get into trouble. Raised moles are intradermal moles, or compound moles, and they have a much lower rate of malignant degeneration. Flat moles are where most of the cases of melanoma come from.”
Some signs to pay attention to are number one, symmetry. A healthy mole will be shaped in a way that if cut in half they would be equal and mirror each other. Oddly and awkward shaped moles are ones you should definitely point out to your physician. And according to Dr. Scultz you can take this symmetry test even further. He suggests that “if you draw a line down the middle of your body, from your chin down through your groin, and you have two moles that are mirror of each other, meaning roughly the same distance from that middle line and approximately the same level up and down, there is a good chance they are precancerous.”
Another thing to pay attention to is change. A healthy mole will remain the same forever. Even if you cut or agitate it by mistake, it should heal and go back to the exact same shape/color that it was to begin with. If you notice that a mole is changing over time, it may be worth showing your doctor.
It is important that you stay aware of your skin’s health. I mean it is the largest organ we have. Making sure to pay attention to anything that seems off or different about your skin is helpful for you to stay on top of your health. And if you really want to be an all star see a dermatologist once a year just as you would your family doctor for a physical. It can’t hurt to know that you are in the clear! Most issues caught early can be resolved, so do your best to stay in the know about your health!