Quick Tip: Summer Skin Safety

VIDEO: Dr. Richard Besser explains how to check yourself for signs of skin cancer.

Do you want to know how to take care of your skin this summer? You may already know the basics like drinking water and wearing sunscreen, but on "GMA" I explained how you can save your summer skin.

Put dryness in the past by avoiding long, hot showers and applying lotion as soon as you get out.

You should also replace razors frequently since build up from sunscreen and lotions can dull the blade and lead to nasty nicks.

But when it comes to skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States, where should you be looking on your body to check for signs?

Spotting the Signs of Skin Cancer

No matter what your skin color, you have to check your skin regularly for signs of skin cancer. The first place to check is any area that is sun-exposed: your face, neck, ears, hands and your back and legs if you're at the beach. Don't forget your arm if you hang it out the window while you're driving. Balding men should check their scalps -- even the skin exposed by the part in your hair.

The most common skin cancers are squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas. When caught early and treated, they rarely cause further problems. They are not always easy to detect, but if you have any kind of abnormality on your skin that doesn't go away within two weeks to a month, you should go to the doctor to get it checked.

CLICK HERE to learn more on skin cancer prevention and treatment options

The more serious form of skin cancer is melanoma. Melanomas are often found on skin that is newly exposed to the sun like the backs of men, and on the backs or legs of women, now in the sun because of warm weather clothes.

To determine if an unusual mole is actually melanoma or any other skin cancer, you can follow the A-B-C-D-E guideline developed by the American Academy of Dermatology:

A is for asymmetrical shape. Look for moles with irregular shapes.

B is for irregular border, meaning that the mole has indentations and cauliflower-like borders.

C is for changes in color. If the mole is more than one color or is uneven in its shading.

D is for diameter. Look for new growth in a mole larger than about 1/4 inch -- think a pencil eraser.

E is for evolving. Look for changes over time, such as moles that grow in size or that change color or shape, or if they itch or bleed.

CLICK HERE to see examples of normal and abnormal moles to help you spot melanoma

Sunscreen: Your First Defense

Your first line of defense against skin cancer is to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin. Don't forget to put it on at least a half hour before going out in the sun, and reapply it every two hours -- even more frequently if you've been sweating or swimming.

If you can avoid being in the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when rays are strongest, you'll also cut back on your risk.

More Tips from "GMA"

CLICK HERE for more information on choosing the right sunscreen.

CLICK HERE for dermatologist Jeanine Downie's top picks for sunscreens.

CLICK HERE for gadgets to help you monitor your sun exposure.

Want to learn more about skin cancer? CLICK HERE to visit the Skin Cancer Learning Center.

CLICK HERE for all of Dr. Richard Besser's health tips for your family.

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