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Our Favourite Advice on Checking Your Skin and Moles

Summer is just around the corner, meaning now is the perfect time to get moles checked ahead of the warmer weather. We often make sure to lather the children with sunscreen before they leave the house - but how well do we take care of our own skin?

 

We should make the most of sunshine when it arrives but it is important to take precautions and not bask in it too generously. Damage to the skin can occur from sun exposure and cannot be reversed. Precautionary steps to prevent yourself from further damage include avoiding sun bed use completely and following sun safety advice, such as wearing sunscreen with high SPF and UVA rating whilst also avoiding burning in the sun completely.

Sun and pregnancy

Pregnancy can cause your skin to become more sensitive, which means protecting your skin from the sun and its effects are extremely important for you and the health of your baby. Skin in pregnancy can burn and change colour more easily as well as increased pigmentation caused by hormones which can lead to pigmentation.  Freckles and moles can also become darker due to these pigmentation changes so it is important to keep an eye of any change of shape of them when pregnant.  Self-monitoring can help to ensure that any changes or abnormal moles are caught early and can be examined by an expert to ensure it is not cancerous.

Skin cancer in the UK

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, affecting 1 in 10 people. Whilst caught early, Melanoma is easily treated - caught too late it can kill. Rates of melanoma are increasing faster than any other cancer. The MOLE Clinic believe early detection would reduce the number of deaths drastically in the UK, which currently stands at over 2,000 per year (more than Australia).

Tanning overheats your body, increasing the risk of low blood pressure and fainting so it's important to stay cool and hydrated at all times. Even in the shade it is important to apply sun cream every 2-3 hours whilst avoiding the 11am-3pm - especially when pregnant as your skin is more likely to burn and change colour. Covering up the skin is another good way of staying protected from the sun's rays, UVB causes the skin to burn so an SPF of at least 30 and a 5*UVA rating is required.

ABCDE

We asked the expert, Anna Gucova, Skin Cancer Screening Nurse at The Mole Clinic for her  tips on how to self monitor your skin. Self-monitoring is easier than you think, just remember the 'ABCDE' rule on what you need to look out for when spotting a potentially dangerous mole:

Asymmetrical: Look for moles that are asymmetrical in shape, where one half of the mole is unlike the other

Borders: Does the mole have an irregular border? Is it scalloped, jagged or poorly defined?

Colour: Is the colour of the mole different from one area to another or does it have different shades of tan, brown or black?

Diameter: Check the diameter of the mole to see if it is bigger than 7mm (about the size of the end of a pencil)

Evolution: Is the mole evolving or changing size, shape or colour?

It is really important to take note of 'E', as any mole that is evolving or changing needs to be examined by a GP or an expert like The MOLE Clinic right away. With skin cancer, only early detection saves lives - if you follow the above guidelines, it's easy as ABCDE to keep your skin-health in check.

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Just to let you know that the nanny is lovely and has got on really well. She is nice and calm, seems very sensible and in control, and quite pleasant to have around. Thanks again Tinies!
Carol, Oxford