How to do a Self-Skin Check

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We know it might sound like a hassle, but keeping an eye out for anything changing or funky looking on your skin is worth it, we promise. Our good friend and Dermatologist Dr. Lindsey is back this year to help share some super easy ways to do your own self-skin check at home.

Dr. Lindsey Zubritzky MD, FAAD

If skin cancer is caught early, it’s highly curable! That’s why it's so important to get familiar with your skin and to Know Your Spots.

I recommend inspecting your skin once a month and be on the lookout for anything questionable.

When doing a skin-check, it’s important to look at your skin carefully and systematically. First, find a well-lit, bright area with a full-length mirror, as well as a hand mirror. Then, start by looking at your face. Don’t forget to inspect the inside of your mouth, your eyelids, and your ears!

“Pro tip: ask your hairstylist to look through your scalp for any suspicious spots.”

Next, look through your scalp. While this may be difficult to do if you have a lot of hair, try using  a brush or a blow-dryer to move your hair out of the way so you can see better. Pro tip: ask your hairstylist during your trips to the salon to look through your scalp for any suspicious spots as well. Next, work your way down the front of your body, inspecting your torso, as well as both arms and legs. Don’t forget to check your palms, soles of your feet, and nails (skip the nail polish)! Be sure to also check around your private areas, including under your breasts. Finally, turn around and examine your backside using your full-length mirror and handheld mirror.

“Remember the ABC’S of Skin Cancer and Know Your Spots!”

When doing your skin check, the point is to be on the lookout for any new or changing moles or suspicious spots, ulcers, or non-healing wounds. Remember the ABC’s of Skin Cancer!

  • Look for any spot that is Asymmetric
  • Spot with irregular Borders
  • Contains abnormal Colors (like multi-color, red, dark brown/black, blue) 
  • Has a Diameter bigger than a pencil eraser (more than 6 mm)
  • Spot that is Evolving or growing.

Also be on the lookout for a spot or sore that is bleeding, scabbing, non-healing, crusting, or hurts/itches. If you aren’t sure if a mole or spot is changing, take a photo with your cell phone and measure it. Check it again in a few weeks!

“When in doubt, make an appointment to see a Dermatologist”

Despite what some people think, seeing a Derm isn’t scary! Dermatologists perform skin checks every single day and are more than happy to check you out and put your mind at ease. It’s normal to feel intimidated by skin checks but once you establish a relationship with your Dermatologist, it gets easier and more comfortable. You can find a Dermatologist near you here.

Know Your Spots