Become a Skin Checker – If You Care for Somebody, Check For their Beauty Spots

One in three diagnosed cancers is a skin cancer. Worldwide, between two and three million non-melanocytic skin cancers and 132,000 malignant melanomas are diagnosed each year. In the United States, one in five Americans will suffer from skin cancer in their lifetime, whilst in Europe, skin cancer is rising by 5 to 7% a year. However, the earlier it is detected the greater the chances of it being cured, 90% of skin cancers are curable if treated in time.

Good Habits for Sun Safety

Avoid sun exposure during the times of day when there is strong sunlight, typically from 11am – 3pm: 50 to 70% of skin cancers are linked to overexposure to UVB and UVA rays.

Reduce children's exposure to the sun: 80% of skin damage caused by the sun occurs before the age of 18. The damage caused by exposing your skin to the sun and to strong sunlight between childhood and adulthood leads to the development of skin cancer.

Use a very high factor sunscreen that protects against both UVB and UVA rays. Look for a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or above with a minimum of 4 starts to denote a broad -spectrum cover.  Apply generously to all exposed areas of clean dry skin, 15 to 20 minutes before sun exposure. When using lotions, as the bare minimum you should to apply at least six full teaspoons (approximately 36 grams) to cover the body of an average adult.  Reapply again after exercise, swimming or towelling or at least every two hours. Wear protective clothing, sunglasses and a hat.

Consult your GP or a dermatologist if a skin lesion appears or if you observe any changes in a mole. Stay vigilant and monitor your moles – try using a Mole Checker!

Assess Your Risk

Several factors can determine your risk of developing skin cancer:

You have skin type I or II, your skin tans very little or not at all or you often get sunburnt.

You have freckles or moles that differ in appearance (size, shape, colour).

You suffered severe sunburns when you were a child or were frequently exposed to strong sunlight during your childhood or adolescence.

There is a history of skin cancer in your family.

You have a lot of moles, including some that are large, irregularly shaped or uneven in colour.

This is the ABCDE Dermatological Method.


In general, a person has around twenty moles distributed across their body and face, but the more they have, the greater their chances of developing skin cancer. According to the latest research, 65% of melanomas appear outside of a pre-existing mole.
It is therefore essential to be aware of and monitor the appearance of new moles and any changes that may occur.
To monitor any changes in your moles, use the ABCDE method that has been developed, approved and used by dermatologists the world over. Each letter corresponds to an aspect of moles that you should pay attention to:

Nothing replaces a diagnosis by a dermatologist. Don't hesitate to talk to your GP if you have any worries.

For further information visit

British Association of Dermatologists - Sunscreen Fact Sheet

Health and Safety Executive Sun Safety in Outdoor Work


Used with the kind permission of Alison Lambert who is an Occupational Health Nurse at Workfit.

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