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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
An atypical mole, or dysplastic nevus, is a mole that usually has an abnormal shape, size, or color. Atypical moles can develop on skin that is protected from the sun and skin that is exposed to sunlight. Your risk is increased if you have family members with atypical moles. Most atypical moles do not develop into skin cancer. Your risk for skin cancer is higher if you have many atypical moles.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You see a new mole that does not look like your other moles.
- You have a mole that changes in height, shape, or texture.
- You have a mole that changes color.
- You have a mole that starts to itch, bleed, or ooze fluid.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Follow up with your dermatologist as directed:
You will need to return for regular skin exams. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Check your skin once a month:
Your dermatologist will show you how to do a self-exam of your moles.
Protect your skin:
- Avoid sun exposure between 10 am and 4 pm. The sun is most intense during the middle of the day.
- Sit in the shade if you are outside. Sit under an umbrella or sun shelter.
- Do not use tanning beds. Tanning beds are not safer than a tan directly from the sun.
- Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30, 20 minutes before you go outside. Use sunscreen on cloudy days as well. Apply sunscreen at least every 2 hours and after you swim or sweat. Apply to your ears, scalp, back of your hands, and the tops of your feet. These areas are easily forgotten. Use a lip balm that contains at least SPF 30.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants or skirts. Wear a hat with a wide brim all the way around. The wide brim shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck. Wear large-framed sunglasses to protect your eyes.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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