Skip to content


Melanoma Prevention 101

Posted in Skincare

woman laying down

Living in the hot south, Texans are no strangers to sunshine, especially the kind of sun you only get at the beach or lake. But all that fun in the sun can impact the health of your skin. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. But there are steps you can take to help prevent skin cancer or catch it in time so it can be effectively treated.

What is Melanoma?

Melanoma, more commonly known as skin cancer, is the most common and dangerous form of cancer in the US and affects over two million people. The term “melanoma” comes from the mole-like tumors that originate in the pigment-producing melanocytes of the skin. Melanoma develops when unrepaired DNA damages the skin cells due to ultraviolet radiation, a known carcinogen, from the sun’s rays or UV tanning beds. The damaged skin cells trigger mutations that lead to skin cells multiplying and forming malignant tumors.

Early detection of skin cancer is crucial for timely and effective treatment, and it’s important to practice good skin-protecting habits not just during the summer months, but all year long. Take time to examine your skin throughout the year. Look for any abnormalities such as moles or suspicious marks as well as any growths that itch, bleed and/or do not heal quickly.

The ABCDE Signs of Melanoma

So how do you recognize the possible signs of melanoma, or cancerous skin growth? Physicians suggest using the ABCDE strategy to determine if a mole or growth is an early sign of melanoma. ABCDE stands for:

  • Asymmetry

Draw a line down the middle of the mole or growth. If the two sides do not match, it may be cancerous.

  • Border

The border along a cancerous mole or growth will be uneven, scalloped, or notched.

  • Color

Possibly cancerous moles or growths have varying colors and shades.

  • Diameter

They are usually larger in diameter than the size of a pencil eraser.

  • Evolving

Over time, a possibly cancerous mole or growth will exhibit changes to its size, shape, color, and elevation.

Melanoma Prevention

  • Daily use of sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher is recommended for daily use as a complete sun protection regimen.
  • If you plan on being outside for long periods of time or for leisure in the water, make sure you use a broad spectrum sunscreen that is water-resistant and higher than SPF 30.
  • During the summer months, seek out the shade, especially between the hours of 10 AM and 4PM, which are the hours when UV rays are the strongest.
  • Cover up; wear clothing including broad-brimmed hats and UV-blocking sunglasses to prevent you from burning.
  • Newborn babies should be kept out of the sun. Sunscreen can be used on babies six months or older.
  • Examine your skin once a month using the ABCDE method and have a physician examine your skin once a year.

Expert Skin Damage Repair

Markings and damage to the skin as a result of over exposure to the sun can be minimized and sometimes erased completely through non-surgical procedures. Dr. Chris Livingston and his team of experienced plastic and cosmetic surgery pros know how to make your skin look its best, whether for cosmetic or medical purposes.

Contact us to request a consultation to learn more about our skin care services.