Here’s When Seeing a Dermatologist Is a Must

In this blog, we’re going to talk about a common situation that requires a dermatologist visit. 

New spots on the skin

If you notice a new spot on your skin, it’s important to get it checked. It might be melanoma, which everyone is susceptive to. Remember the ABCDEs of melanoma. We’re looking for asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and we’re looking to see if the spot is elevating and changing. If you see any irregular skin growths, asymmetrical moles, or spots larger than a pencil eraser, it’s time to see the dermatologist.


Photo cred: Family Care Givers Online

Even though some little spots look normal, they might actually be melanoma, a kind of skin cancer. When we zoom in on melanoma spots, they don’t actually look like normal spots. Melanoma spots have little lines in them. There are also irregular areas of pigment loss, granular spotting, and haziness.

These spots can grow and spread very quickly, and it’s better to get them checked and to avoid UV radiation which is a common cause of skin cancer. Once you visit a dermatologist, they will perform a skin biopsy to determine whether the spot is cancerous - and if so, the type. During a skin biopsy, the area will be removed and looked at under a microscope. If the biopsy removes the entire tumor, it's often enough to cure basal and squamous cell skin cancers without further treatment, but melanoma is more serious and can spread aggressively. 

Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cells are found in the lower epidermis. About 80% of skin cancers develop from this type of cell. It’s mainly caused by sun exposure or develops in people who received radiation therapy as children. This type of skin cancer usually grows slowly and rarely spreads to other parts of the body.

Squamous cell carcinoma 

Most of the top layer of the epidermis is made up of flat cells called squamous cells. Around 20% of skin cancers develop from these cells, and these cancers are called squamous cell carcinomas. Squamous cell carcinoma is mainly caused by sun exposure as well. It’s often found on the lip, but it can be diagnosed on many other regions of the skin. In addition to UV, it can develop on skin that has been burned or damaged by chemicals. 



Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that starts with melanocytes.  These cells produce the pigment melanin, which gives skin its color. Melanoma is the most aggressive type of skin cancer. It accounts for about 1% of all skin cancers. 

Most of the time, melanoma is caused by exposure to UV light. So, that’s why it’s so important to properly protect the skin with sunscreen, clothing, and to reduce UV exposure. And ultimately, it’s important to visit the dermatologist once a year to get a check and to always visit when you notice any new or changing spots on your skin.