For the past decade Glamour has marked Skin Cancer Awareness Month by publishing a guide to checking your own moles in our May issue. This year we’re switching things up by going digital—so you can access these images anywhere, at any time, whenever a curious spot shows up. Because taking a careful look at your skin should not be a once yearly affair. “The earlier you can catch skin cancer, the easier it is to cure,” says Casey Gallagher, M.D., a dermatologist in Boulder, Colorado. And that means time is pretty much always of the essence.
Melanoma is the second most common cancer in women ages 15 to 29, and more than a million Americans are living with it right now, according to Jody Levine, M.D., director of dermatology at Plastic Surgery & Dermatology of NYC, citing the American Academy of Dermatology. “About half of melanomas found are self-detected,” she says. That means give yourself a good once-over, and compare any moles you have to the ones in these images.
As you look at the pictures below, Dr. Levine says to keep the ABCDEs of melanoma in mind (Asymmetry, when one half doesn’t match the other; Border irregularity, when the edges are jagged; Color that varies; Diameter that’s larger than a pencil eraser; or a mole that is Evolving—changing shape, size, or color over time). And if something fits the bill, get to your derm ASAP for a check.