Indoor tanning, not using sunscreen, laying in the blazing sun every day all summer … sound like high school you? It’s okay; most of us have probably made these mistakes. We live, we learn. Unfortunately, even if you stopped baking in the sun around the same time you said goodbye to Laguna Beach, you’re still at an increased risk for skin cancer.
The good news? Keeping an eye on your skin now can help catch the disease when it’s early and most treatable.
So, in addition to regular dermatologists visits and always slathering on that SPF, start examining your own body.
- After a shower or bath, examine yourself in a full-length mirror in a well-lit room.
- Make note of birthmarks or spots you’ve had your whole life. Learn what these look and feel like so you can watch them in the future to ensure they don’t change.
- Scan your entire body, head to toe, no area left unchecked.
- Don’t forget your back (grab a friend to help if you can’t see), scalp (use a comb check under your hair), butt, and genitals.
- Raise your arms to check your underarms and sides.
- Examine your hands, including fingernails.
- Sit down to check your feet, including toenails, soles and between your toes.
- Look closely for moles that have changed in size, shape, color, or texture, new moles that look abnormal, or a sore that has not healed. If you find any, make an appointment with your dermatologist.
Everyone should watch for changes on their skin, regardless of age, race or gender. The biggest benefit to examining your own skin regularly is to learn what is normal for you. Take notes in your phone to track moles, spots and anything you want to talk to your dermatologist about.