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Have you scheduled your end-of-summer spot check?

Did a new spot show up on your skin this summer?

Now is the best time to get it checked.

Your summer tan may be fading, but that skin damage isn't going anywhere. Before sunny summer days (and maybe accidental sunburns) vanish from memory, remember to look for any new spots that may have cropped up during the warmer months. While it takes years for skin cancer to develop, new moles and blemishes are most easily detected, and more frequently remembered, while our skin is exposed by shorts and tank tops.

So why focus on new growths?

A new study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology tells us that 70% of melanomas come from new spots on our skin.

How do I spot a potential melanoma?

The ABCDE Rule from the American Cancer Society is a great tool for evaluating growths – especially new ones.

  • A is for asymmetry. Melanomas typically have irregular shapes.
  • B is for borders. Melanomas generally have borders that are not well-defined.
  • C is for color. Melanomas look different from your other spots. Sometimes, they have several different shades within a single mole.
  • D is for diameter. If it's larger than your other moles, you need to have it checked out – especially if that growth is sudden.
  • E is for evolving. Melanomas change their size, shape, and color.

Of course, you shouldn't be on the lookout for just Melanoma. All types of skin cancer are on the rise with 9,500 Americans diagnosed each day.

The damage is done. What can I do to protect myself now?

Annual full body scans conducted by a board-certified dermatologist are the best way to ensure your skin safety. Before you pull out your coats and sweaters for the cooler months, consider seeing your dermatologist.

If you have a suspicious mole that you believe might need attention, but you can't get an appointment with a dermatologist anytime soon, or you are having trouble finding time in your busy schedule to get to a doctor's office, considering conducting a visit online through DermatologistOnCall. With 10 minutes of your time and a few photos, you can get that spot checked by one of our dermatologists anytime and from anywhere.

In 24 hours, your doctor can give you peace-of-mind by either reassuring you that there is nothing to worry about or by getting you the prompt care you need to get back on the path to good health.