Did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body? Covering your body with 21 square feet of protection against bacteria while helping maintain an ideal temperature is just a few life-preserving functions of your skin. You cannot live without your skin, so being vigilant about protecting your outer layer is the least you can do to help it do its job. Periodic skin exams are of utmost importance for overall health.
At Dermatology Associates, P.C. of Norwood, Foxboro and Franklin, our professional staff can perform a thorough skin exam. This can help you maintain healthy skin while acting as preventive and early-diagnosis measures for any future issues. To schedule your skin exam, contact Dermatology Associates today.
The Procedure during a Skin Exam
A thorough skin examination should be done each year during your routine medical exam. Before the exam, take off nail polish, as this area is also prone to cancers. The doctor or dermatologist will examine your skin carefully, noting moles or rough areas that may have changed from the last exam. A complete family history of skin cancers and other pertinent health histories should be discussed.
Besides a yearly doctor’s exam, it is also very important to check your skin at least once a month. This can be done in front of a full mirror and by using a hand mirror for areas that are difficult to see. Letting a friend or partner help with the exam is also a good idea, especially for areas like the scalp or the back. By doing monthly checks, you will get to know what skin blemishes or moles are present and will be able to watch these areas closely for any changes. A good tool is a body map, an outline of the body, where you can draw your moles, freckles or blemishes to help remember their location and track changes.
Your doctor will look closely for new moles, growths, and those that have been found during your own monthly home exams. If an area looks suspicious, the doctor may do a biopsy or remove a layer of the skin to be checked out under a microscope. The doctor will also explain where and what to look for when doing self-exams while answering questions you may have about skin concerns. Feel free to take notes as the doctor is going over the exam and always ask questions if you do not understand a term or procedure during the exam.
Daily care of your skin not only entails good hygiene, sun protection and proper nutrition, but also includes the monthly self-exams as well as annual check-ups from your doctor or dermatologist. Skin cancer is more common than any other cancer in the United States. Chances are one in five that you develop skin cancer of some type within your lifetime. However, with a good routine of periodic skin exams, the prognosis of beating skin cancer and other skin problems is excellent. Take control of your healthy life and get an annual skin exam.