Suss out your skin lesions
Everyone has areas of their body they feel self-conscious about but that can be dangerous, especially when it comes to skin lesions. We're here to inform you what to look out for so you can make sure you're not in danger.
Victoria Smith, Aesthetic Practitioner at Absolute Aesthetics, notes that the most widespread benign versions include the common mole or seborrheic keratosis (warts), with dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams adding that these types are found on a lot of people.
Dr Elisabeth Dancey, a cosmetic doctor based at Medi-Spa in London's Edbury Street, explains small lesions which measure up to 1cm are referred to as naevi, while larger are dubbed lumps. There's two types of naevi; pigmented or non-pigmented.
"Non-pigmented lesions are more often a cause of distress on the face or body," Dr Dancey explained, adding they are formed due to sun exposure. "These seborrhoeic keratoses grow slowly and can bleed if traumatised. Alarming as they look they are benign, but it’s always worth checking (with a GP)."
Dr Williams adds that seborrhoeic keratosis should be checked to establish whether they are sinister, such as melanoma skin cancer. The cancerous lesions mostly from around the eyes, ears, chest and mouth (areas most exposed to the sun) and grow slowly while frequently bleeding and becoming scaly.
Pigmented ones, meanwhile, are exactly what you'd think, with skincare expert Debbie Thomas explaining: "Pigmented lesions are any coloured marks on the skin, most commonly associated with sun damage." These count moles - flat or raised - birth marks, freckles or age/liver spots. And what they look like are determined by your skin, as Dr Dancey notes people with dark skin have almost black-looking naevi, while pale-skinned individuals have lighter ones.
So when to know when something isn't right? "When looking at naevi, they should all look the same. Suspicious ones stand out from the rest, the so-called ugly duckling sign," she said. "The worry about abnormal looking pigmented naevi, moles, is that they are melanoma."
Indicators of melanoma are irregular borders, multi-coloured skin and growing, with bleeding coming at a later date.
Luckily there are treatments, and Victoria points out: "The type of method to remove the skin lesion depends on the severity and risk."
Debbie explains that minor surgery is an option for deep-rooted moles, or shaving them off using a scalpel. However the most popular method of removing a lesion is burning or freezing them off as these are both quick and non-invasive. Lasers using a concentrated light can be used to burn, or a form of electrolysis which passes an electric current through a tiny needle to make it hot works too. When it comes to freezing, it's often the case of a quick round of cryogen therapy.