Our skin often has a tough time dealing with the intense heat and humidity of summer, leading to acne breakouts, hyperpigmentation, and crow’s feet from squinting in bright sunlight that aesthetic treatments like wrinkle-relaxing injections from our Naperville-based practice can smooth out. However, preventing surface imperfections isn’t the only thing we need to worry about!

Sun exposure can also have much more serious consequences. Now that we are firmly in the hotter months, it’s more important than ever to shield your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. Sunlight—along with artificial sources such as tanning beds and sun lamps—give off radiation that penetrates the skin and can cause the cells to be damaged and grow out of control.

We’re talking about skin cancer.

When skin cancer isn’t identified and treated in its early stages, it can spread throughout the body, becoming disfiguring or even deadly. While skin cancer looks different on everyone, there’s a simple guide for recognizing common characteristics of this condition.

The ABCDE Rule

Knowing the ABCDEs of melanoma makes it much easier for you to spot possible signs of cancer.

A is for Asymmetry: Look out for lesions that have an irregular shape where the sides wouldn’t match if you were to draw a line down the center.

B is for Border: Skin cancers often have a blurry, jagged, or poorly defined border.

C is for Color: Normal, non-cancerous moles usually have a tan, brown, or black color, whereas cancer may have an unusual color like red, white, or blue, or have a speckled, uneven tone with several different colors.

D is for Diameter: Most normal moles are no bigger than a pencil eraser. Although cancer can sometimes be very small, moles that are larger than 6mm are especially suspicious.

E is for Evolving: Have you noticed any spots on your skin that are continuing to grow or change shape over several months? Have you had new symptoms such as crusting, bleeding or itching? If so, the spot might need to be checked out.

While The John Bull Center for Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Medispa focuses on aesthetics, we can also help patients who are looking for help with certain types of skin lesions, including actinic keratoses, which can develop into cancer if left untreated. We also work with patients to repair defects made by cancer-removal surgeries. Call us at (630) 280-3913 or fill out a contact form to schedule a consultation and learn more.