most often on the face, neck, chest, shoulders, or back and can range from mild
to severe. It can last for a few months, many years, or come and go your entire
Mild acne usually causes only
whiteheads and blackheads. At times, these may develop
into an infection in the skin pore (pimple).
Severe acne can produce hundreds of pimples that cover large areas of
Cystic lesions are pimples that are large and deep.
These lesions are often painful and can leave scars on your skin.
Acne can lead to low self-esteem and sometimes
depression. These conditions need treatment along with
The most important warning sign for
melanoma is any change in size,
shape, or color of a
mole or other skin growth, such as a birthmark. Watch
for changes that occur over a period of weeks to a month. Use the
ABCDE rule to evaluate skin changes, and call your health professional if you
have any of the following changes.
- A is for
asymmetry. One half of the mole or skin growth doesn't
match the other half.
- B is for
border irregularity. The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
is for color. The pigmentation is not uniform. Shades of tan,
brown, and black are present. Dashes of red, white, and blue add to the mottled
appearance. Changes in color distribution, especially the spread of color from
the edge of a mole into the surrounding skin, also are an early sign of
- D is for
diameter. The mole or skin growth is larger than
6 mm (0.25 in.) or about the
size of a pencil eraser. Any growth of a mole should be of
- E is for evolution. There is a change in the size, shape,
symptoms (such as itching or tenderness), surface (especially bleeding), or
color of a mole.
Signs of melanoma in an existing mole include changes
- Elevation, such as thickening or raising of a
previously flat mole.
- Surface, such as scaling, erosion, oozing,
bleeding, or crusting.
- Surrounding skin, such as redness, swelling,
or small new patches of color around a larger lesion (satellite
- Sensation, such as itching, tingling, or
- Consistency, such as softening or small pieces that break
off easily (friability).
Melanoma can develop in an existing mole or other mark on
the skin, but it often develops in unmarked skin. Although melanoma can grow
anywhere on the body, it often occurs on the upper back of men and women and on
the legs in women. Less often, it can grow on the soles, palms, nail beds, or
mucous membranes that line body cavities such as the
mouth, the rectum, and the vagina. On older people, the face is the most common
place for melanoma to grow. And in older men, the most common sites are the
neck, scalp, and ears.1
other skin conditions (such as
basal cell cancer) have features similar to those of
Later signs of melanoma
- A break in the skin or bleeding from a mole
or other colored skin lesion.
- Pain in a mole or lesion.
metastatic melanoma may be vague and include:
lymph nodes, especially in the armpit or
- A colorless lump or thickening under the
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Gray skin
- Ongoing (chronic)