Ask the Doctors: Dec. 17, 2010

Q: I get freckles when I tan. What should I look for to see if the freckle could be a sign of skin cancer?

A: First, you should not purposely get a tan. Any tan from the sun or tanning beds is damage to the skin. The only safe tan is that from a bottle (self-tanners or spray-on tan). Any new spot to the skin should be evaluated. Spots to get worried about are those that are irregular in shape or color or are larger than a pencil-head eraser (4 mm). Spots that bleed easily should also be evaluated.

Dr.ChenSuephy C. Chen, MD, MS
Associate Professor,Department of Dermatology
Emory University

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