Are Dark Spots A Potential Skin Cancer Risk?
Dark spots can be unattractive and irritating to the one who has it. Most of us wish it would go away and there are lots of ways to do so, but if anything, dark spots should warn us of over-exposure to the sun and UV skin damage. While dark spots are non-cancerous, it may also be a sign of melanoma, which is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. This is because melanoma can mimic the appearance of dark spots and can start out by looking harmless.
So, how would you know if the dark spots on your skin are cancer-related? First, examine your dark spots. These are often tan to dark brown in color but may be red, black and a bit raised. Now the rule of thumb is, if you spot new or changing dark spots, you should check with a dermatologist. You should also consider getting an annual skin exam to check for patterns and changes in your dark spots. Early detection can be life-saving.
What Causes Dark Spots in the First Place?
Every time your skin gets exposed to the sun, melanocytes cells increase in your body. This increase melanin which causes the skin to tan or become darker. In the case of dark spots, this means overexposure to UV sun damage just like a bad sunburn. However, dark spots linger a lot longer than sunburn. Dark spots often show up in the 30s but can appear as early as your 20s or even during adolescence. It often appears in areas of the skin exposed to the sun like the face, neck, the V of your chest, back, hands and shoulders. Other causes of dark spots are aging, genetics, birth control use, pregnancy, stress, vitamin deficiency and weak liver functioning.
Asymmetry – One half of the dark spot is bigger than the other
Borders – The edges are blurred, irregular or uneven
Color – Black, red, blue, pink or multiple shades of brown are present
Diameter – Larger than 6mm (Note: some may be smaller)
Evolution – Change in size, shape, color; can start to bleed, ooze or itch
You’ve heard it one too many times that sunscreen is essential if you want to protect yourself from sun damage caused by heavy sun exposure. Remember that most dark spots have a long history of years under the sun. So, while you may have no qualms about exposing yourself to the heat of the midday sun now, you may reap the consequences in the near future. Dermatologists recommend using sunscreen with the highest SPF of at least 30, even on cloudy days. Also, if you can, just stay away from the sun between 10 AM to 2 PM, when it is most powerful.
How to Get Rid of Dark Spots
Yourbestskinadvisor.com swears by lemon juice extract, buttermilk, papaya and oats as homemade remedies to lighten, minimize and remove dark spots in the long-term. They also recommend Meladerm for restoring healthy skin. If you would like more info on this the quickest way to do this is to do a quick search for “how to get rid of dark spots – yourbestskinadvisor“.
Dark spots may just be a cosmetic concern, but it already tells us that we put ourselves for too long under the sun without protection. Sun damage from overexposure can lead to skin cancer and it can start with symptoms that look like harmless dark spots. Just remember to stay protected and consult with a dermatologist if you see any changes to your dark spots or see new ones.