Video Production by Josh Melendez

Dr. Anderson explains how to do a full body skin exam and explains the importance of it. A skin self-exam only takes about 10 minutes to complete and should be done once a month. Ask a family member or close friend to help you perform your skin exam and this will help you identify suspicious patches of skin in areas that are hard to see or reach. In addition to monthly self-exams, it is recommended that you see your physician once a year for a professional skin exam.

Download the mole map from the AAD

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Video Transcript:

So what we ask of you is to be our partners in your health. And for dermatology, the main thing is to look at yourself once a month in the mirror, and to see if anything is new, changing, or growing. And if it is, please make an appointment with your local health care provider to have that lesion looked at.

Now every part of your skin is important to look at, so looking at your arms, looking at your chest, looking at your abdomen, looking at your back, looking at your legs, looking at the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet, look at everything. And areas that are not easy to be seen, try a mirror, or ask a partner to look at those areas. Areas, like your scalp, you’ll probably need to ask your hairdresser every time you get your hair cut, “Hey, just let me know if there’s anything new, or changing, or growing.” So please, this only takes about 30 seconds a month of you looking at your skin, noticing if anything is new, or changing, or growing.

So the American Academy of Dermatology created a wonderful resource so that you can download these at home, and then look at them every month while you’re doing your full body skin exam. So, please look below for the information on what to download, please print them at home, and please follow them every month. There’s going to be an infographic that’s going to give you great information on what to look for while you’re doing your full body self-skin examination. There’s also gonna be a body mole map that you can print off, draw on, and bring it into your local dermatologist the next time you are seen by them.

Remember, we recommend at least once a year to have full body skin exams by a dermatologist. So the last step is to please remind yourself in some way, shape or form, to do these self full body skin exams. Please program them into your calendar on the phone. Please write them on your calendar at home. Please ask a friend help hold you accountable. And remember when you’re doing these full body skin exams, if you’re a male, please also do your monthly testicular exams, and if you’re a female, your monthly breast exams, and notice if there are any new lumps, or growths, or any other abnormalities in that area.

And thank you for helping us help you become comfortable in your skin. 

About the author

Dr. Anderson with Doctors Quarterly Magazine - Cropped
Dr. Reagan Anderson

Dr. Anderson is a Board Certified Dermatologist and Mohs Micrographic Surgeon. He serves as a Clinical Professor of Dermatology and is actively involved in patient and healthcare provider education on dermatology conditions and treatment.

Colorado Dermatology Institute
8580 Scarborough Drive / 1220 Lake Plaza Drive
Colorado Springs, Colorado