JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - It's spring now and that means spending a lot of time outside with a good amount of sunshine.
Are you taking enough precautions to protect your skin from UV rays?
Today is considered "Melanoma Monday", which helps to kick off Melanoma awareness month for May.
Dr. Adam Sills with Sills Dermatology said it is important for people to know what to avoid and do while out in the sun as we head deeper into the Spring and Summer.
Dr. Sills said, "Try and avoid direct sunlight, try to wear a big hat, protective clothing, long sleeves even in the summertime to give your skin some protection, staying in the shade when possible, avoiding the peak hours of sun from 10 to 4. "
Knowing all of the ways to protect yourself is just half of the battle though.
It is also important to know how to check your skin for Melanoma, with the A,B,C,D,E's.
Dr. Sills said, "You look for a mole that is asymmetric, which means one half doesn't look like the other half. You look for an irregular border and that is what the B stands for so if the border is wavy and not smooth that could be concerning, we also look for colors either the color change or multiple colors, we look for a diameter greater than six millimeters which is about the size of a pencil eraser or a quarter of an inch, and than E stands for evolving, so if you have a mole that is changing especially over a few months, that is unusual.>
With how fast melanoma can form it also means you need to check your skin often.
Dr. Sills said, "Truthfully, everybody needs to check themselves over about once a month its kinda like what you can do with breast cancer and other types of cancers that you can do some self examinations at home. It's best to have a family member help you look over your backside, there are lots of areas of the body that aren't easily seen."
Be sure to cover up when you are out and about in the sunshine and wear plenty of sunscreen to protect your skin, and also don't forget to do your monthly check.