Being an external organ, the skin is exposed to many factors that can cause damage; it is easy to visualize a change in it that could indicate that something is not right in your body.
Although it is recommended that you go to your doctor for a general check-up of your skin at least two times a year, you can do it yourself constantly since it is an excellent way to know your body and detect any alteration to treat it. Weather. This is very simple, and in this FastlyHealarticle, we want to offer you a guide on the steps to do a skin self-exam.
Table of Contents
Main skin pathologies
When you regularly perform a skin self-examination, you will be able to notice if you have dryness, a new mole, spots, warts, and other bumps, sores, or any other skin lesion, know how long it takes to disappear and if the texture, color, shape changes over time. Or size. Therefore, more attention must be paid to any change, even if it seems minimal, since it could indicate severe skin pathology. Among them, the following stand out:
- Dermatitis: There are several types of dermatitis, and some symptoms are specific, but in general, it is possible to notice redness of the skin, inflammation, burning, and tenderness in the affected area, bumps such as boils or blisters, dryness and scaly skin.
- Skin cancer: Tumors of this type are classified into melanoma and non-melanoma, the most common and less severe. They mainly develop on skin exposed to the sun and the appearance of spots, bumps, a lump under the skin, ulcers that do not heal, and especially changes or discomfort in moles, either in their shape, size, irritation, or bleeding, could be indicating this disease.
- Psoriasis: It is a pathology that is characterized by the presence of scaly-looking red spots, accompanied by irritation, itching, and pain. Symptoms intensify with dry skin and stress. It can appear anywhere on the body, but it frequently affects the scalp, neck, elbows, and feet.
- Alopecia: It is a disease in which the main symptom is hair loss, and depending on the type of alopecia, there may be patches without the hair of 2 to 5 cm in diameter in any area of the skin; it is also possible that the hair on the head diminishes in the frontal zone and to the sides or that it falls ultimately, even that the loss of hair is in all the body.
- Vitiligo: Being a progressive skin pigmentation disorder, the appearance of light-colored spots is the main sign of this pathology. These spots can be symmetrical and usually develop around the nails, mouth, armpits, hands, elbows, knees, nipples, and genitals. In some cases, there may be itching in the affected area, but generally, the only symptom is depigmentation.
How do I do a skin self-exam?
Before starting to perform skin self-exams, it is advisable that you first go to a dermatologist to do a complete skin examination and determine if everything is normal, even the moles or marks that you already have. From this, you can be more secure and aware of any changes that may arise in your skin; Therefore, it is recommended that you do self-exams at least once a month or two times every three months, increasing the frequency if you have a family history of skin diseases, such as cancer.
The skin self-exam can be done at any time of the day, although it is best to do it after taking a bath, considering that it could take a maximum of 15 minutes the first time, and then it becomes faster. You must be in a well-lit room and support yourself with a full-length mirror, a hand mirror, two chairs, a dryer, and a comb. If you don’t know how to start this review, you can guide yourself in these steps to do a skin self-exam:
- Stand in front of a mirror and thoroughly check your face; carefully examine behind the ears, the corners of the lips, the nose, and the eyelids. Identify the skin texture in the face areas, count the moles or any other mark you have, and the size and the color they present.
- Divide the scalp into several parts and examine each one in front of the mirror with the help of a comb or a hairdryer if required. You can also lean on a hand mirror to visualize the back and neck; for this, you could ask a family member or friend for help. Check that everything is standard in the moles and make sure there are no spots, other bumps, or patches of alopecia.
- Inspect your hands from both sides, taking time for each one. Look closely at each finger and between them, the nails and around them, and also check the forearm. The presence of spots, bumps, and marks usually affect these areas mostly, being necessary to be aware of any alteration.
- Continue to examine the elbows, arms, and armpits using a full-body mirror to view various angles. Check well between the elbow folds and raise the arm well to take a closer look at the armpits. They are areas where the spots appear quickly by sunlight, which can also alter moles, and the skin is very susceptible to drying out and having a scaly appearance.
- You should carefully examine that there have been no spots, warts, or other bumps and changes in moles that could be found on the neck, chest, and torso. Women should still check under the breasts and feel around for any lumps. Consult your dermatologist for any abnormality.
- With your back to a full-length mirror and with the help of a hand mirror, look closely at the skin on the shoulders, back, and back of the neck. Review these parts from various angles and run your hand around to feel for any texture and shape of moles or other marks.
- Even with your back to the mirror, continue to check the skin on the lower back, buttocks, and back of the legs using a hand mirror in areas that are difficult to see. Glide your hands over the skin to rule out lumps, pimples, or strange bumps; you should also spread the buttocks to examine the area between them and the anus.
- Lastly, you have to examine the genitals, legs, and feet. Place two chairs together, sit on one, and in the other, raise your legs apart a little to check the genital area supporting yourself with a mirror. At the same time, with your hand, you separate the folds, feeling the texture and discarding any abnormality. Continue up the thigh, the knee to the ankles, between the toes, nails and around them, the soles and heels of the feet. If you notice spots, sores, scaly skin, or moles that have changed in size or color, you should inform the specialist.
Some tips for skincare
Although several factors usually intervene in skin pathologies and, in some cases, the causes are unavoidable, taking some essential skincare helps you keep yourself in good health and prevent certain conditions. Some recommendations that you can take into account are:
- Stay well hydrated; you must drink enough fluids that meet your needs according to your activities.
- Follow a balanced diet; many of the foods you eat contain nutrients that support the well-being of the skin and the immune system.
- Avoid exposing yourself to sunlight; if you have to go out, you can choose to do it in the morning or at sunset. Do you know these home remedies to protect your skin from the sun?
- Protect yourself from ultraviolet rays by using synthetic or semi-synthetic fiber clothing and broad-spectrum sunscreen, even on cloudy days.
- Use products suitable for your skin type, including makeup, creams, shampoo, hair removal methods, etc.
- Take a few minutes to relax since stress is usually a trigger for various pathologies, including skin conditions.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Steps to do a skin self-exam , we recommend that you enter our Skin, hair and nails category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.