How to check moles properly this summer, according to experts

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  • Skin cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the UK so learn the ABCDE method to ensure you're monitoring them correctly

    As well as the best sun cream, knowing how to check moles properly is essential for summertime as we spend more time outdoors with the warmer weather.

    According to the NHS, it’s totally normal for babies to be born with moles, new moles to appear, moles to fade over time or disappear with age and for them to darken during pregnancy.

    The majority of moles are completely harmless, but can develop into a type of skin cancer known as melanoma.

    Research conducted this year by Boots found that a whopping 80% of us have never checked our backs for signs of melanoma.

    When you consider that skin cancer is the fifth most common form of cancer in the UK, those statistics aren’t great; that’s why we’ve compiled this handy guide on how to check moles.

    As well as sun protection and covering moles with clothing, you should keep an eye on moles for any significant changes.

    Below, ScreenCancer UK’s Donna Smart explains the ABCDE method of changes in moles, courtesy of Boots.

    ABCDE of moles

    The ABCDE acronym is a handy way of remembering the warning signs of changes in moles; asymmetry, borders, colour, diameter and evolving.


    Normally, if you were to draw an invisible line through the centre of a mole, both halves should usually be the same.


    Watch our for unclear, irregular or ragged borders against normal skin.


    Keep an eye out for any changes in colour, especially black, blue or uneven colours.


    A melanoma is usually more than 5-6mm in diameter, about the size of a pea. Look out for any changes in size.


    Be aware of any changes in size, colour, crustiness, itching or bleeding of existing moles or lesions or if a new mole/lesion appears. Taking a photo will help you monitor any changes.

    If you’re unsure about a particular mole, see your GP or pop into Boots’ in-store mole scanning service.

    Here’s to all of us being more mole-aware.

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