12 May Protect Your Skin: The Importance of Self-Skin Exams and What to Look For
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and it’s estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. However, early detection can greatly increase the chances of successful treatment. That’s why it’s important to perform regular self-skin exams to check for any changes or abnormalities in your skin. Here’s what you need to know about self-skin exams and what to look for.
Why Self-Skin Exams Are Important
Self-skin exams are an important part of skin cancer prevention. They allow you to become familiar with your own skin and identify any changes that may be concerning. The earlier skin cancer is detected, the more likely it is to be successfully treated. By performing regular self-skin exams, you can catch any potential issues early and seek medical attention promptly.
When to Perform Self-Skin Exams
It’s recommended to perform a self-skin exam once a month, preferably after a shower or bath when your skin is clean and dry. It’s also important to schedule annual skin exams with a dermatologist, who can identify any potential issues and provide guidance on how to perform a self-exam.
What to Look For During a Self-Skin Exam
During a self-skin exam, you should look for any changes or abnormalities in your skin, including:
- New moles or growths
- Changes in the shape, color, or size of existing moles or growths
- Sores that don’t heal
- Redness or swelling
- Itching or bleeding
If you notice any of these changes, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist right away.
Tips for Performing a Self-Skin Exam
To perform a self-skin exam, start by examining your face, neck, ears, and scalp. Use a mirror to examine your back, shoulders, and any hard-to-see areas. Check your arms, hands, and fingers, including between your fingers and under your nails. Look at the front and back of your legs, including your feet and toenails.
Here are some additional tips to help you perform a self-skin exam:
- Use a bright light and a full-length mirror to examine your skin
- Use a hand mirror to examine hard-to-see areas
- Ask a partner or family member to help you examine areas you can’t see
- Take note of any moles or growths and monitor them over time
Performing regular self-skin exams is an important part of skin cancer prevention. By becoming familiar with your own skin and monitoring it for any changes, you can catch potential issues early and seek medical attention promptly. If you notice any changes or abnormalities during a self-skin exam, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. Remember, early detection is key to successful treatment.