Steps for a Skin Self-Exam
- Look at your body-front and back-in the mirror. Lift your arms and check your left and right sides.
- Make sure you check your whole body thoroughly, not missing any areas.
- Become familiar with your body. It is important to know where your moles, birthmarks, and blemishes are and what they usually look like.
- Bend your elbows and look carefully at your forearms, upper arms, and hands. Make sure to check the undersides of these areas as well.
- Look at the back and front of your legs and feet. Do not forget between your toes and the soles of your feet.
- Check your face, the front and back of your neck, and your scalp using a hand mirror. Part your hair for a closer look. Most people have a lot of trouble looking at their own scalp. If your hair is long, using a hair dryer to blow it out of the way may make seeing the scalp easier.
- Check your back and buttocks with a hand mirror.
American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca
Basal cell carcinoma of the skin. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 24, 2014. Accessed March 25, 2014.
How do I check my skin? American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/spot-skin-cancer/understanding-skin-cancer/how-do-i-check-my-skin. Accessed March 25, 2014.
Skin cancer prevention and early detection. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003184-pdf.pdf. Accessed March 25, 2014.
Lambert M. ACS releases updated guidelines on cancer screening. Am Fam Physician. 2012;86(6):576-577.
Melanoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 16, 2014. Accessed March 25, 2014.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 21, 2014. Accessed March 25, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 04/2014 -
- Update Date: 03/25/2014 -