With an estimated 80% of redheads having freckles, and all natural redheads having an increased risk of skin cancer, it can sometimes be hard to know when you should visit the dermatologist. Most freckles are harmless and simply a gathering of melanin under the skin, but you should know what to look for and when it’s time to visit the doctor. Here’s how to tell which freckles (and moles) might need a second look:
1. Look at the size
Freckles or moles larger than a pencil eraser in diameter should always be checked. Additionally, if you have a freckle or mole that has changed in size, you will want to alert your dermatologist. Getting new freckles over time is quite common, but keep an eye on them and make sure nothing looks out of the ordinary.
2. Check the shape
In addition to size, the shape of a freckle or mole can be an indicator. Most freckles and moles are round in shape, if you have one that looks to be an abnormal shape or changes shape, let your doctor know so they can check it.
3. Pain is a warning
A freckle or mole causing you pain is always a reason to head to the doctor. Non-cancerous freckles and moles should not cause any pain or discomfort. Get it checked out right away if you’re experiencing either of those symptoms.
4. Color is key
If you have a freckle that isn’t the same color as your other freckles, or a mole that is changing color or appears to be an odd color, this is a sign to alert your doctor.
While all of these signs may indicate a cancerous freckle or mole, it’s not a sure thing. Make sure you visit your dermatologist and have it checked out if you’re unsure. You should also be visiting your dermatologist regularly so they can keep an eye on things and make sure nothing is missed. If caught early, skin cancer can often be treated and cause little to no disruption to your life.
Rock it like a Redhead!
READ: Redheads with Moles Contribute to an Increased Melanoma Risk
READ: A Sneaky Way Redheads Are Being Exposed to the Sun’s UV Rays