Performing a Self-Examination of Your Skin

We at Divine Dermatology recommend that everyone should practice at least a monthly full body self-examination of your skin. This is to find any new or changing spots, moles, or lesions that may be cancerous or precancerous.

Skin cancers found and removed early enough are almost always able to be cured. If you do find any suspicious spots or moles on your skin, please do not hesitate to contact your dermatologist for a professional examination.

To perform a self-examination of your skin, you will need one or two mirrors – one large and one handheld. The bathroom is the most ideal location to perform a skin exam because bathrooms usually have large mirrors and good lighting.

To perform a self-examination of the skin:

Upper Body

-Look at your body from the front and from the back in the mirror, then with arms raised, check the right and left sides. For women, please remember to lift your breasts to see the underside.

-Examine your facial area, especially the nose, mouth and lips and the ears (including the back).

-Check your forearms, upper arms, underarms and your elbows while they are bent and while they are extended.

-Spread your fingers and check the areas between them. Remember to include your palms too.

-Use a hand mirror to check the back of your neck. Remember to also check your scalp. You can use a blow dryer and a mirror to expose each section of your head. See if you can get a friend or a family member to help you as it is a little difficult to check that part of your body for spots.

Lower Body

Using a hand mirror, scan your lower back, your buttocks, hamstrings, calves and the rest of the back of your legs.

-Sit down and put a leg on a stool one at a time and examine your knees, shins, and toes. Do not forget to check the bottom of your feet as well.

-Examine your genitals carefully.

What to Look For

Irregular-looking moles

-Dark spots

-Lesions

-Bumps and lumps

These things can indicate that there is something potentially wrong with your skin. If you do spot any of those mentioned above, please call your dermatologist to get your skin examined professionally.

Skin Map

Skincancer.org has skin map available for download from their website. This skin map allows you to record any changes you find on your skin when you perform your self-examination. You can download the skin map here.

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