When you visit your dermatologist for a skin check, he or she will, among other things, look for moles that are different in color, shape, or size from the others on your body, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, who was not involved in the study. It's a "one of these things is not like the other" scenario.
The apps, however, evaluate individual moles. Without the full picture, they may deem potentially cancerous spots as low risk.
The bottom line:
Get an in-person skin check once a year, Zeichner says. If you notice an asymmetrical mark or a mole that has changed in color, shape, or size, schedule another appointment—with your doc, not an app.