As it turns out, there are a lot of false facts about suntan and melanoma that many people seem to believe. Some people sound the alarm as soon as a mole begins to grow and change its appearance. Others don’t remove a growth until it’s absolutely necessary. While others have no idea that you can get tan even when it’s raining or the weather is foggy.
We gathered several popular myths about moles that should’ve been debunked a long time ago for the sake of health and beauty.
Myth #9. Melanoma most commonly appears on the face and hands.
It’s very easy to notice weird moles and spots on your face. However, according to statistics, the most commonly affected areas are the back in men and the legs in women. Doctors advise paying attention to the areas where moles come in contact with clothes or shoes due to a higher risk of injury.
The potential for the development of melanoma increases with every sunburn, especially the ones that you got in early childhood. A genetic factor should be taken into account, as well — if a member of your immediate family was diagnosed with melanoma, you’ll most likely have it too.
Myth #8. A particular danger is posed by big, dark, and raised moles.
At an early stage, a malignant tumor looks like a simple mole. If you have more than 50 moles on your whole body, it’s better to get them examined by an oncologist and a dermatologist at the hospital. Light-skinned, blue-eyed, red-haired, and freckle-faced people are in the risk group.
Dark spots that look like little moles on an eyeball are a cause for concern and require an ophthalmologist examination. In most cases, they’re harmless, but some of them can be a sign of a malignant eye damage.
Myth #7. Only cancerous moles should be removed.
Doctors can easily remove any mole if it’s physically uncomfortable or aesthetically displeasing to you. For example, if you’re afraid you might injure it by accident or it doesn’t look good on your face. It’s absolutely safe to remove a mole when done by a professional.
The main thing is to make sure you remove it in a medical institution and send its sample to a histological study. Thus, the chance of missing a growth that could turn into melanoma and could metastasize is eliminated.
Myth #6. Getting a mole removed with a scalpel is an outdated practice.
Today the most effective instrument used for removing a mole is a scalpel. Due to an indent on the skin and into its depth, a scalpel removes a mole completely blocking the spread of possibly cancerous cells and metastasis. The sample of the removed mole is sent to the histological examination to see if it contains cancerous cells. If it does, then treatment begins.
When it comes to the face, ears, genitals, or fingers, doctors recommend a radiofrequency surgery. A special instrument is used to remove a mole and address further lesion. A part of the removed mole is sent to the histological examination, as well.
Don’t remove moles in medical institutions that use a laser, liquid nitrogen, or other techniques that do not imply the examination and analysis of the biomaterial. A growth could metastasize and cause a person’s death within 6-8 months. A doctor’s incompetence can put your health at risk.
Myth #5. Dark-skinned people don’t need sunscreen.
People with brown or dark skin aren’t at risk: their skin is the result of evolution. That’s nature’s way of protecting people from the harmful influence of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Unfortunately, people are still a long way away from African elephants, whose thick skin and special genes make them impervious to the harmful sunlight.
That’s why even dark-skinned people need to use sunscreen, put on headwear, and even avoid going outside sometimes. By the way, it’s much harder to tell a healthy glow from a sunburn on dark skin.
Myth #4. You can’t get tan during a cloudy or rainy day.
Ultraviolet light can get through the clouds, that’s why your skin gets tan even when it’s raining. But the intensity of the radiation changes depending on the weather conditions and time of year. Today, every smartphone has a Weather App that shows the current UV index. It’ll help you prepare your skin.
For example, if UV index is one or 2, use sunscreen with a protective factor of 30 (SPF 30). If the index varies from 3 to 7, put on a headwear, sunglasses, and wear loose clothes that cover your hands and legs. If the index is more than 7, stay in the shadow, apply sunscreen to your whole body, and avoid going outside from 11 AM to 5 PM. These rules apply to all people regardless of their skin color.
Myth #3. Some people have a lot of freckles from birth. You don’t need to worry about it.
There is a dysplastic nevus syndrome characterized by multiple moles and freckles on the body. Each can turn into malicious melanoma. People with such a skin condition should check their skin using a dermascope. It takes photos of the skin and traces the appearance of the new moles. A special lens for the fluorescent diagnostic differentiates pathologies from healthy skin.
People with freckles are vulnerable to UV-light. Pigment spots don’t have many cells that produce melanin, that’s why they look paler than moles. Freckle-faced people should use sunscreen with a protective factor of 35 or more.
Most birthmarks pose no risk to your health. But to avoid the risk of mutation, it’s better to get examined by health professionals and use sunscreen.
Myth #2. If you injured a mole, it should be removed.
Firstly, you need to get a mole cleaned up to avoid contamination. Then, apply a remedy that stimulates tissue regeneration. And after that, schedule an appointment with an oncologist and dermatologist as quickly as possible.
Injuring a mole doesn’t mean it must be removed. However, very often, inner pathological processes make it very vulnerable to further injuries. A doctor’s examination is necessary to eliminate the risk of the development of melanoma.
Myth #1. If you rip off a mole, you’ll get cancer.
There’s no clear evidence that a mole’s injury can lead to melanoma. Very often, an injured mole that turned out to be cancerous initially formed as melanoma. In this case, the injury of sick tissues accelerated the development of melanoma.
On the other hand, a person believes he injured a mole when he notices the blood around it. The pathological processes inside a mole can cause the bleeding. It’s a very dangerous symptom that should not be ignored.
Do you know any facts about moles and birthmarks that more people should be aware of? Share them with us in the comments. Stay healthy!