In this day and age, it’s essential to take good care of yourself and perform regular physical examinations. One of the most important checks has everything to do with your skin. Unfortunately, the number of people suffering from skin cancer gets higher every day even though it’s possible to examine the skin on your own, too. In general, it’s recommended that every person checks their body thoroughly at least once a month while professional skin checkups should be performed annually. In the end, such a simple habit can save lives.
1. How to perform a skin check on your own?
You may need to be thorough but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do the skin checkup on your own. Basically, you should be looking for any changes in your skin, especially when it comes to freckles, spots and moles. Unfortunately, many people don’t really know what they’re looking for. That said, pay attention to the skin that’s scaly, itchy, sore and even bleeding around moles, freckles and spots. Aside from that, be on the lookout for changes in shape, size and color. Also, any other abnormalities that make a spot/mole/freckle stand out from the rest can be cause for alarm. Furthermore, new spots and moles on the skin can be signs of the most dangerous skin cancer – melanoma – so don’t ignore them.
As you inspect your skin, you need to check every inch of your body. This also includes your face, neck and ears, buttocks, hands and palms, fingers and in between the fingers and toes. Scalp, groin, genital area and even nails need to be properly inspected, too.
It would be best to undress completely and stand in front of a mirror. Make sure that the lighting is bright enough. Use another mirror to help you check areas that are otherwise difficult to reach or see. If you have a family member or partner to help you, even better.
2. A professional skin check
Even if you don’t find anything concerning when examining your skin by yourself, you should still make it a point to undergo a professional skin checkup at least once a year. Usually, these checkups last only for 15-20 minutes, which is nothing when you consider that such a short amount of time can end up saving your life. A professional in the field will use a variety of specialized tools and techniques to properly examine your skin, and then assess whether you need further examinations or not. During these visits, make sure to talk to your doctor openly, and address all of your concerns without fear.
3. Where can you get your skin checked?
The good thing about professional skin checks and examinations is that you don’t really need to hunt for a specialist too hard. After all, you can visit your general practitioner or dermatologist for this purpose, or book an appointment at a renowned aesthetic clinic in your area that offers skin examinations and such. In that respect, you don’t really have an excuse not to deal with this annual checkup that can make all the difference for your health and lifestyle. In the end, some changes on the skin don’t have to be malign but benign, which means that you can get them removed quickly and stop the stress and anxiety from affecting you too much.
4. Learn more about your skin
In order to prevent needless worry since stress can cause plenty of health issues on its own, you should learn more about your skin. The best way to do that in regards to potential skin cancer is to perform regular skin checkups. Healthy living habits like this will not only get you a better sense of your skin’s sensitivity and behavior, but a professional can offer you a detailed report of what you can expect from your skin in different conditions. For instance, some people simply tend to get freckles easily and that may not be a major reason for concern in their particular case, while others may not find this occurrence as common for their particular skin type and sensitivity level. Together with your family history, you can gradually inform yourself about different things that may be normal for your skin as well as those that may not.
5. And what if there’s something strange going on?
In case you find something abnormal on your skin and your doctor confirms that the change seems suspicious, they will first perform the biopsy on the affected tissue. This means that you’ll receive a local anesthetic so that the doctor can remove a piece of tissue with a scalpel. The tissue sample is then forwarded to a pathologist so that they can test it. A couple of stitches will be enough to close the wound. This process is completely normal and there’s no reason to worry yourself sick. The change in the tissue doesn’t have to be malign, for starters. Even if it is, detecting the change in time gives you the opportunity to undergo the necessary treatment as soon as possible, thus making it a lot more effective.
One of the biggest causes for concern when it comes to skin cancer is unprotected sun exposure. This is why you should always apply high SPF before going out in the sun. But, when performing skin checks on your own, you have to focus on every inch of your body, regardless of whether it’s been exposed to sun or not.