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Teens and Melanoma

By: Carl Thornfeldt, MD, FAAD
Posted: April 29, 2011, from the May 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 5 of 8

C—Color. Varied shades of brown, tan or black are often the first signs of melanoma.

D—Diameter. Early melanomas tend to grow larger than common moles. Pay attention to spots that are larger than the diameter of a pencil eraser.

E—Evolving. Changing in any parameter: color, size, shape or feel.

Melanomas in young adults are found more on the trunk of the body, rather than on the head or neck, just as in the elderly.5 However, the incidence of melanomas on lower legs of females is significant.6

Sunscreen and beyond

There is no denying that daily use of sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection (SPF 50 or higher) should become a habit as important as brushing your teeth twice a day. Look for active ingredients such as zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone or ecamsule for both UVA and UVB protection. For teens that are acne-prone and oily, try recommending a noncomedogenic zinc oxide sunscreen.