You may have noticed that your kid has a few more moles than usual. That’s not surprising, as many kids will develop them normally after spending time in the sun. So when should you be concerned?
What a normal mole looks like
The normal moles that your child develops during the course of their life will be small collections of skin cells gathered in a bump the size of or smaller than a pencil eraser. They might change color over their lifetime (although not suddenly!) and are usually symmetrical. Sometimes they may even sprout small hairs!
Fair-skinned people are more sensitive to sunlight, and so fair-skinned children may develop more moles. If your child has especially light skin, keep an eye on where and how many moles they develop, as your child has a higher chance of developing melanomas and other skin abnormalities.
What a dangerous mole looks like
A dangerous mole should stand out pretty quickly. Obviously irregular moles, with an asymmetrical shape or uneven color, are warning signs. If a mole grows rapidly or becomes bigger than a pencil eraser, that’s a big warning sign – call your dermatologist!
Other signs include jagged edges, sudden color change, or pain. If your child experiences any of these symptoms, it’s a sign you need to get the mole checked out.
Three Tips For Protecting Your Child From Skin Cancer
Okay, now that you know the signs of malignant moles in kids, how do you protect them? Here are a few tips:
Wear sun protection and apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. You should wear hats to keep your skin protected from harmful rays, and make sure your child does the same! Get a kid-safe sunscreen and make sure you help your child put it on daily!
Document everything. If you are concerned about your child’s moles, take pictures and keep track of the changes over time in your phone. This is especially helpful when you have to visit the doctor because you’ll have a record of your concern ready to show.
Contact your dermatologist if you spot anything that doesn’t look right. Don’t be shy about contacting them, and don’t wait for it to get worse before talking with the doctor! Melanomas can be treated, but it’s important to start treating them early.