How Should I Self-Examine My Skin?
As summer approaches and we watch our tan lines slowly darken and our freckles emerge onto our cheeks and noses, we need to make a mental note to not only protect our skin this summer but check in with it. It's important to take a thorough look-over at your skin throughout the year but especially during times that you're spending more time in direct sunlight. This could make the difference between applying a little more sunscreen and having to go to your dermatologist for an examination. We're here to provide some helpful tips on how to go about self-examining your skin and what to look out for this summer.
We suggest performing a self-examination every month, and it's best to do so after taking a bath or shower. Equip yourself with both a full length mirror and a hand mirror if you can. It might be helpful to ask a spouse, partner, or family member to help you assess hard-to-see areas like your back but overall you are able to perform this solo.
Examine your body both front and back in front of the full length mirror and examine both sides with your arms raised, looking closely throughout. Check the inside of your mouth and look at your tongue, lips, and inner cheeks for any sores or discoloration.
Check the palms of your hands and work your way up your arms, bending them at the elbow to look at your forearms, and shoulders as well. Examine the back of each leg and foot, the soles of each foot and in between your toes.
To look at the back of your scalp and neck, utilize both mirrors and part your hair. It may help to use a blow dry to enable a clearer view. You can also ask your hair dresser or barber to point out any spots on your scalp.
While performing your skin assessment, take note of any moles, blemishes, or birthmarks from the top of your head to your toes. Make sure to think about if any of these markings have altered in color, size, shape, or if you have any sores that have remained unhealed. You can use your phone or camera phone to document these markings each month to compare.
If you find any changes in size, shape, or color of any previously noted mole or other skin markings, or if you develop a sore that aren't healing , we recommend you make an appointment with your physician.
It may seem like an odd work-up for assessing how healthy your skin is but taking the extra time to pay attention to your skin throughout your body is vital in maintaining your overall health, since your skin is the ultimate barrier for the rest of you. Begin incorporating this self check up each month and documenting any markings that could be suspect, it may go a long way in preventing health problems in the future.