There's no way to accurately predict whose skin is most likely to show premature signs of aging or who is more likely to develop skin cancer, says Dee Anna Glaser, MD, associate professor of dermatology at St. Louis University School of Medicine.
You should schedule a skin exam w. your dermatologist at least once a year after age of 40. If skin cancer runs in your family, you may want to start earlier than that.
In addition, it's important to do self-exams once a month. Signs of trouble include:
· Small pearly white bumps, or sores on skin that bleed and don't heal.
· Red, scaly bumps that resemble a scar and have a depression in middle.
· Dark spots that are asymmetrical, have irregular borders, have more than one color, & are bigger than size of a pencil eraser. These spots may be flat or elevated.
Anyone can get skin cancer, but some people have a much higher risk than others. Risk factors include:
· Fair skin. It doesn't contain as much of the natural pigment called melanin that scatters sun's rays.
· Multiple moles or "beauty marks." Melanoma cells are more abundant in moles & freckles. More beauty marks you have, greater risk that cancer cells will be present.
· A history of sunburns. Even if you've had only one blistering sunburn in your life, you have a higher risk for developing skin cancer.
· A tropical address. Ozone layer, which blocks ultraviolet light, is thinner in tropical regions. Ultraviolet radiation is stronger in southern United States than it is in the north.