How to Self-Examine Your Skin

Check Yourself Monthly

Once a month, check your skin for changes in existing moles, freckles or birthmarks. It helps to know your existing patterns and skin spots. Record them in a body mole map to keep track of any skin changes, including changes in color or size, new growths, or sores. Let your dermatologist know if you notice anything abnormal.

The best time to perform a self-evaluation of your skin is after a bath or shower. It may help to have a partner check your back if mobility is an issue. A common place men get melanoma is on the back; women often get it on the lower leg.

Use a hand-held or full-length mirror and follow the same steps every time, starting at the head. Make sure to check these areas:

  • Front and back, including left and right sides (raise arms)
  • Face, ears, back of neck and scalp (use a comb or hair dryer to part your hair)
  • Upper underarms, both sides of forearms, palms, in between fingers and nails
  • Front and back of thighs, legs and knees, spaces between toes, toenails, top and bottom of feet
  • Buttocks, groin and genital area (use hand mirror)

Tips for checking your skin

If you find anything that seems different, or you have questions about spots you've found, please call 800-777-7775 to set an appointment with a Community dermatologist who can help!