Ask a Simmons Nurse: Year round skin checks

By Michelle Bobb-Semple
Contributing Writer


Q: As many summers come and go, sometimes it is easy to forget about skin care from the sun in the cold winter months. What exactly should you be looking for anyways?

A: According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) it is important to perform skin checks on yourself, the frequency varies based on your risk factors, but once a month is good.

Here are some tips for protecting your skin year round.

Sunscreen is a must! The AAD suggests a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or more sunscreen for any skin you are exposing to UV rays. For ultimate protection it should be applied every two hours, even on cloudy days.

Did you know that being near water, sand, and even snow increases your risk of a sunburn? That shows how important it is to protect and check your skin year round.

So how do you know something is up with your skin? Keep these letters in mind: ABCDE. It is a pretty simple way to remember what is normal and what may need some follow up.

You need to look for A, any asymmetry of the halves of a mole? B, look at the borders: Is it irregular? Poorly defined? C, observe the color; Are there different shades from one area the next? Do the colors resemble white, blue, or red? D, does the diameter exceed 6 mm (bigger than a pencil eraser)? E, has the mole been evolving over time in size, shape and/or color?

If you have done a skin check and have a question about a mole or skin lesion, be sure to get in contact with a dermatologist for further evaluation.

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