The ABC(DE)’s of Skin Growths

Skin growths, or moles, are extremely common – everyone has them! Often times we don’t think much of our moles, but if any moles on your body change, take fast action! Changes in skin growths can be a sign of melanoma.

Here at Pittsburgh Skin, we take a lot of photos of patient moles to track any potential changes in their growth or appearance over time. This is a great way for us to identify subtle changes from one skin exam to the next. However, we also rely on the keen eyes of our patients to self-report any changes they may notice to their moles in between exams, and to inform the office if they have a growth they are concerned about. You can see an example of a melanoma growth below, noting how the spot evolved between photos:


So what should you look for when you’re self-assessing skin growths? When in doubt, think of the ABC(DE)’s of Skin Growth:

A – Asymmetry. A mole should be fairly symmetrical. If one half of a mole does not match the other, keep an eye on the growth.

B – Border Irregularity. Normal moles are round or oval. Blurred, notched, or raised edges could be a sign of concern.

C – Color Change. If a mole suddenly appears to be colored in different shades of brown, black, or even pink, report it to your dermatologist right away.

D – Diameter. Always get larger moles assessed by a professional; those greater than 6mm in diameter are always on our watch list. A great rule of thumb here is to take a standard pencil eraser to the mole – if your mole is larger than the eraser head, call your derm!

E – Evolving. This is perhaps the most important! If you notice a recent change in the size, shape, or color of a mole, take action and call your dermatologist.

In the case of melanoma, it’s always better to be safe than sorry – melanoma has a greater cure rate if caught and treated early.

Concerned about a mole on yourself or someone you love? Call our office today to schedule an in-person or telehealth review of any potentially problematic skin growths. We at the office at Pittsburgh Skin would be happy to help ease concerns and keep your Pittsburgh skin healthy!