Annual Skin Exam and Plan: Why You Need One

annual skin exam

Every year Americans make New Year’s resolutions, set goals, and plan to be healthier. If you’re not making an annual skin exam part of your routine each year, you may be putting your skin, and health at risk. Here are some things to know about your annual skin exam:

What is an Annual Skin Exam?

An annual skin exam is an opportunity for a Dermatologist to examine your skin, identify concerns, look at moles to evaluate changes, and check out any rashes. It can also be a perfect opportunity to speak with your Provider about medical concerns or cosmetic treatments to help with skin issues.

“We try to keep our patients very comfortable and relaxed during the exam, which usually takes only 10 minutes,” James Stewart, PhD, MD, with Dermatology Clinic of Idaho explains. “We look at your skin from head to toe, usually while explaining the things we see on your skin and answering questions.”

If you have any concerns or have noticed moles that changed in size or color, mention that to your Skin Care Provider so they can pay special attention to those areas.

Also, if you’re at higher risk for skin cancer, you may even want to get skin exams more often than annually.

You can use the start of a new year or even your birthday to keep up with your schedule for a skin exam. Just make sure you’re doing one! Take care of your skin every day, all year long by using skin care products recommended by the experts and always wearing sunscreen.

Why You Shouldn’t Skip Your Skin Exam

Stewart also shares, “Melanoma is a serious skin cancer and can occur in an area that the patient can’t see. A common place for melanoma in men is on the back, and in women on the calf.”

“If left untreated, melanoma can become life-threatening before the patient is aware it is there.  A strong argument for annual skin exams is to detect skin cancers when they are early and the cure rate is high,” says Stewart.

Many melanomas found in patients are discovered during an annual skin exam. These may be lesions that patients don’t know are there. Additionally, some easily curable, nuisance rashes patients just learn to deal with can be addressed within days.

Where to Get Your Annual Skin Exam

Visit your Boise Dermatologist to schedule your annual skin exam. You can make an appointment at our Dermatology Clinic of Idaho location to get your skin exam scheduled or to speak with an expert about what cosmetic treatments might be best for you.