Self-Care with Self-Skin Checks- a step by step guide

capsule skin care dermatologists dermatology early detection saves lives healthy skin preventative care preventative medicine self care self skin checks skin cancer prevention skin health Oct 10, 2022

Did you know that self-skin checks are an important part of your preventative health?

When was the last time you looked at your scalp or back, or bottom of your feet? If the answer is 'umm, what skin check?' then read on for a step-by-step guide!

Self-care for your skin with a monthly self-skin exam is so important, and it doesn’t have to be hard. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

A well-lit room

Large mirror

Handheld mirror

No clothes, they will just get in the way!

How often and why?

Early detection of skin lesions and skin cancer is paramount to your health! When we catch things early, the prognosis is often quite favorable and the treatment can be quite simple. When things are ignored and left to grow, they can be a lot more difficult to treat. Checking your skin monthly can help aid in early detection of skin lesions.

How to start:

Be systematic with your skin checks. Perform them the same way each time so you don’t miss an area. I like to use visual and tactile sensation for my self-skin checks. Running your fingers over your skin can help identify early lumps and bumps that may be skin-colored and therefore harder to pick up with just your eyes.

Start with your scalp. Really look at your part or any areas with thinning or no hair. A handheld mirror can help you look at the back part. Ask your hairdresser or barber to let you know if they see anything suspicious or worrisome as well.

Face: Your face is 3-D so be sure to not only look at your face head on, but be sure to turn to the right and left to see all sides and angles of your skin. Pay close attention to your nose, eyelids, ears, and lips as these sites get more sun exposure than you may realize.

Neck and upper chest: This area also gets a lot of sun so be sure to look closely here. Run your hand over your neck and chest to identify any rough or gritty areas, these could be precancers.

Arms: Look at all sides of your arms, including your armpits, nails, and palms.

Torso: Be sure to look under any skin folds and for women, be sure to look under the breasts. To assess your back and buttock, stand facing away from your large mirror and look into a hand mirror to inspect.

Genitals: Be sure to check this area out for non-healing sores or concerning skin lesions.

Legs: Just like with your arms, be sure to inspect both the front and backs of your thighs, lower legs, feet, between the toes, soles and toe nails.

If you have photos of any moles or skin lesions, review them and compare from your last exam. Take note of anything new or changing and let your dermatologist know if something seems amiss. The more often you perform self-skin checks, the more you will get to know your moles and skin lesions, and be able to identify patterns and recognize the ‘ugly duckling!’

For more info, check-out my podcast #10, Self-Care with Self-Skin Checks- a step by step guide.






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