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Safeguarding your skin: 3 essential tips for protection and detection

By Dr. Jason Payne

The skin is the body’s largest organ, providing a protective barrier against external threats. However, it’s also susceptible to various conditions, including skin lesions and moles. While some are harmless, others can pose significant health risks. Understanding the importance of skin protection is crucial in preventing and managing these concerns.



Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is a primary risk factor for skin damage, including the development of lesions and changes in moles. Protecting your skin from UV rays is paramount. This involves:

  • Sunscreen: Regularly apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF to all exposed areas of the skin, even on cloudy days.
  • Sun-protective clothing: Wear clothing that covers the skin and offers UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) protection.
  • Seeking shade: Limit time spent in direct sunlight, especially during peak UV hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).


Regular self-examination of the skin allows for the early detection of abnormal lesions and changes in moles. Encourage individuals to perform monthly self-checks, paying close attention to:

  • New lesions or moles: A healthcare professional should promptly evaluate any new growths or changes in existing moles.
  • Asymmetry, border irregularity, color changes, diameter: Use the ABCDE method to identify potential signs of melanoma.
  • Unusual symptoms: Itching, bleeding, or pain in a lesion or mole should be investigated promptly.


Routine skin assessments by a professional are essential for comprehensive skin health. Any suspicious spots on sun-exposed areas such as the arms, legs, backs and heads usually are biopsied. If something comes back cancerous and must be removed, most procedures can be performed in the office with little disruption to the patient’s daily routine.

Dr. Jason Payne is a general and bariatric surgeon with Singing River Health System and Pascagoula Wound Care Medical Center Director. Reach him at (228) 875-3778.

Written by Singing River Health System

Singing River Health System offers a comprehensive Structural Heart Program, through which patients receive the latest technology in minimally invasive procedures on the structures of the heart. Please visit to learn more.

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