Follow The Stir

Dry Skin or Skin Cancer?

by The Stir Bloggers on January 29, 2009 at 11:30 AM

dry skinThe country's current cold snap is enough to turn my skin into an itchy landscape of white, peeling snowflakes. My skin is super dry, and my kids have the same problem.

I have to admit that I have an infinite amount of freckles and moles, too. And sometimes, the dry skin plus the moles alarm me. They just look weird.

That's why I wonder, when is it just dry skin, and when is it cancer?

Sometimes, it can be very difficult to decipher which is which, explains Dr. Craig Austin, creator of AB Skincare. If you noticed something growing quickly, then it's much more likely to be a dry patch, not skin cancer. Also, dry skin goes away quickly with lotion or as the weather becomes more humid. If you have several dry patches, it's probably just dry skin--skin cancer is more likely to be isolated.

But you should see a doc if a weird dry patch of skin lasts for 3 or 4 months. Also, keep an eye on areas of your body where you get a lot of sun--your face, your left forearm (sun exposure from driving), the tops of your legs. Skin cancer is more likely to crop up in those places.

Use the ABCD rule for home exams, and if you detect any of the following, call your doctor:

  • A is for asymmetry. That's when one half of a mole doesn't match the other.
  • B is for border. The edges are irregular, ragged, notched or blurred.
  • C is for color. The color is not the sane all over and may include shades of brown, black, pink, red, white or blue.
  • D is for diameter. The spot is larger than about 1/4 inch--the size of a pencil eraser.

To keep your skin safe, have a doctor check you out once a year, and be sure to wear sunscreen. Melanoma skin cancer is very serious and life-threatening--but it's highly treatable with early detection.

To keep your skin moist, check out Cafe MicheleZ's recent post, 6 Steps to Winterize Your Skin. Lately, it's been so cold where I live in New Jersey that we've been using petroleum jelly on our hands and lips. It's messy--especially when my kids gets ahold of it. But it works, and we call it Magic Boo Boo Cream.

Do you have dry skin? If so, what are you tips for dealing with it?

Filed Under: aging, cancer, illness, products


  • Shutt...


    March 16, 2009 at 3:46 PM


    For more information, visit

    AND THANKS for spreading the word!

  • tazdvl


    January 3, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    I knew what to look for with moles but didn't know dry skin could be cancer. thanks

  • Glen...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Glen Godfrey

    April 29, 2011 at 7:10 AM

    Its really a inforamtive post.  The most common symptoms of skin cancer are a new growth on the skin, a change in an existing skin growth, a sore that does not heal and most moles and other growths are harmless and do not need to be removed.


1-3 of 3 comments

To leave a comment, log in as a CafeMom member:

Log In

OR, use our non-member comment form: