Posted on Wed Jun 17, 2020
We spoke to Consultant Dermatologist Dr Tee Wei Siah to find out what you should do if you’re out in the sun when you have one or more moles somewhere on your skin.
Most of us have a few moles on our bodies, (no, not the animal, the skin growth!), and for the most part they’re completely harmless. However, some moles are more dangerous than others, presenting the risk of cancer when exposed to the sun.
It’s a good idea to check any moles on your body before heading out for an extended sunbathing session (even in the UK!), so we wanted to explain how to do this, and how to assess and minimise the risk, so you can enjoy the ‘Great British Summertime’.
To do this, we teamed up with Dr Siah, Consultant Dermatologist.
I’ll be as clear as possible, but I’ll preface this by saying that if you do have a mole that you’re worried about, it’s worth consulting a specialist, even if it’s just for peace of mind!
When checking a mole, look for:
The British Association of Dermatologists has created an ABCD-Easy guide to help identify changes that might indicate a ‘melanoma.’
Again, if you do have any doubts, you should contact an expert.
We should all take extra care in the sun. Excessive UV radiation can damage the DNA in our skin cells and cause skin cancers.
As a dermatologist, I recommend a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above as a satisfactory form of sun protection in addition to protective shade and clothing.
[Warning: this might be a little unpleasant reading!]
A mole may be removed via shave excision or excision biopsy.
Shave excision: After local anaesthetic has been injected, a small blade is used to cut around and under the mole to leave a flat wound. No sutures (stitches) are needed.
Excisional biopsy: The whole lesion plus a narrow margin of healthy skin is removed using a punch device or a scalpel. Sutures are required.
Sun exposure can worsen already existing conditions such as rosacea.
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