How to Use the ABCDE Method to Evaluate Your Moles

How to Use the ABCDE Method to Evaluate Your Moles

Moles are clusters of pigmented cells that people commonly get in childhood or adolescence. They’re generally harmless and appear as small, dark spots. If you have moles, you’re likely to develop 10-40 of them as you get older. 

On rare occasions, moles may become cancerous, so looking for changes in your moles is extremely important for your health. If you’re concerned about a mole, you can find help with Dr. Javier Zelaya and the team at Skinworks Dermatology, with three New York City locations.

Let’s examine what to look for to determine if a mole might be cancerous and what can be done about it.

How you get moles

Melanocytes are skin cells that are distributed throughout your skin and produce melanin, which gives your skin its color. Clusters of melanocytes form moles. 

Moles are typically brown spots, but they can be tan, black, red, blue, or pink. Moles can be smooth, flat, wrinkled, or raised, and some even have hair growing from them. They’re usually oval or round and are generally about a quarter inch in diameter.

The ABCDE method

Moles are often harmless, and they even may go away on their own over time. However, if you notice changes in your moles, it may indicate melanoma, a dangerous type of skin cancer. The usual way to check for changes in moles is the ABCDE method:

A: Asymmetry

Check to see if one half of the mole is different from the other.

B: Border

See if the outside of the mole lacks definition or is in any way irregular.

C: Color

Look for color changes in the mole or if there are multiple colors.

D: Diameter

Examine the size of the mole. If it’s larger than a pencil eraser, it may be cause for concern.

E: Evolving

If your mole changes in size, shape, or color over time, seek medical attention.

The ABCDE method is helpful to catch early signs of melanoma, and early treatment is key to preventing this dangerous form of skin cancer from posing any further risks.

Treatment if you have signs of melanoma

In addition to watching for the aforementioned changes, you can take other basic steps to protect your skin. Avoid overexposure to UV rays and tanning beds, use sunscreen all year round, and cover up in direct sun. 

If you’re diagnosed with melanoma, multiple treatments are available, including:

Any treatment depends on the extent of damage to your skin caused by the cancer and the potential risk to other parts of the body. A thin melanoma may be removed with a biopsy, and minor surgery is a typical treatment if it’s caught early.

Your mole may be completely harmless, but if you notice any changes, make an appointment with Dr. Zelaya to get it looked at. Call one of our Skinworks Dermatology locations in Maspeth, Chelsea, or Park Slope today, or book your appointment online.

You Might Also Enjoy...

The Link Between Stress and Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an incurable but treatable chronic skin condition that can present with scaly patches, rashes, and itchiness. A big risk factor for psoriasis is stress. Learn more here about the link between stress and psoriasis.

Rosacea Triggers You Should Be Aware Of

Often confused with other skin conditions, rosacea is an incurable but manageable ailment that affects millions. To avoid flare-ups, you need to know what triggers to look for.

Facials Flaws Fillers Can Fix

Cosmetic treatments are all the rage, and injectables are a popular outpatient treatment to give you a younger look. Dermal fillers are a common type of injectable, and they can help with many facial flaws. Read on to find out more.

Tips for Protecting Your Skin in the Summer

Now that the weather has warmed up, people are eager to get outside. But while you’re enjoying your time in the sun, remember that ultraviolet rays can be dangerous if you’re overexposed. Here are some tips to protect your skin this summer.

Who’s at Risk for Melanoma?

Skin cancer is more common than any other type of cancer, and melanoma is the most dangerous form. Treat melanoma early to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body. Read on to find out who’s at risk and what signs to look for.

Why Wax When You Can Dermaplane?

When it comes to removing facial hair, waxing is a popular skin treatment that people either get done professionally or do at home. But dermaplaning can do everything waxing can — and more.