When should I worry about a marking on my skin?

When should I worry about a marking on my skin?

When should I worry about a marking on my skin?

Skin reacts to both internal and external factors on a constant basis. This can result in serious conditions, as well as those that do not pose a threat to your overall health. Benign growths are usually only more unsightly to look at (or even slightly uncomfortable) than they are a health hazard.

When in doubt, it is a good idea to have a growth checked by a medical professional such as a dermatologist. A doctor can help you to understand the nature of the growth, possible underlying causes and how to recognise ‘behavioural changes’ that can occur on the skin which may require careful monitoring, and even medical treatment.

Illustration showing the essential rules for detecting skin cancer.

What signs should you look out for?

Skin cancer in its various forms (particularly melanoma) is often what most will worry about when it comes to unusual markings on skin. Regular examinations, whether done privately in the home or in the doctor’s office are recommended.

It’s important to recognise any changes which may place you at higher risk of various conditions, including malignant melanoma.

Signs to look out for to detect melanoma (skin cancer).The general rule of thumb for recognising possible condition problems can be done using the following appearance chart:

  • Asymmetry: Does one half of the growth appear to match the other or is it mismatched?
  • Border: Is the border (outline or edge) of the growth fairly rounded or is it jagged and irregularly shaped?
  • Colour: Is the colour uniform (consistent throughout the area)? Are there different shades of the same colour (such as shades of brown) or is the growth varied in colour (pink, red, blue or white)?
  • Diameter and evolving: Does the growth appear to be growing larger and changing in size? Is the growth diameter larger than that of a pencil eraser?

Early assessment of mismatched, jagged borders, irregularly coloured and large growths can be effectively treated.

It is important to assess any growth you notice on your body, whether it develops slowly or suddenly. When in doubt, seek analysis from a medical professional as soon as possible.

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