I don’t know about you, but I have “skin imperfections” sprinkled across my surface. “Beauty marks” (as my mother used to call them), sunspots, age spots…I’m certainly not a clean canvas!

If your skin’s not blemish-free either, then you would certainly benefit from knowing which spots you can ignore and which ones may be suspect. With skin cancer on the rise, especially among younger and younger people, a trip to a dermatologist may be wise if these ABCs begin to spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

A: Asymmetry
If you could fold your skin “blotch” in half, would it be symmetrical? Skin cancers tend to be asymmetrical in shape.

B: Borders
Are the borders (outside edges) of your skin discoloration smooth or jagged? Skin cancers typically have irregular borders.

C: Color
Is the hue of your skin mark consistent throughout or does it have lighter and darker areas? Skin cancer often looks “patchwork” in color.

D: Diameter
If the diameter (width) of your skin blemish is larger than an eraser on a pencil, you should have it checked out.

E: Evolving
Has your skin lesion been morphing over time? If you’ve been observing a notable change in size, shape, color, or thickness, do not hesitate to have it looked at. Time is critical, and some skin cancers are extremely aggressive spreaders below the skin’s surface.

Many times I’ve noticed suspicious marks on my patients’ skin and as their healthcare provider I alert them to the potential danger they may pose as per the above listed ABCs. A quick, typically peace-restoring visit to their dermatologist is what this physical therapist always recommends.