This week marks 18 years since Darren, the catalyst for the creation of UV Skinz, passed away from skin cancer at the age of 32.
In honor of Darren, we want to encourage you to check your skin — both at home and with a dermatologist. After all, most skin cancer cases are curable if they are diagnosed and treated early enough.
The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests examining your skin from head-to-toe each month. If you see something “new, changing or unusual,” they advise getting checked by a dermatologist immediately.
Here’s what they say to look for when doing a self-skin check:
- A growth that increases in size and appears pearly, transparent, tan, brown, black or multicolored
- A mole, birthmark or brown spot that increases in size, thickness, changes color or texture
- A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, scab or bleed, or an open sore that does not heal within three weeks
It’s estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Check out the AAD’s body mole map as a useful tool to help document your self-exam.
Some tips they suggest when conducting a self-check include: bending your elbows and looking carefully at forearms, underarms, and palms; looking at the back of your legs and feet, including the spaces between your toes and the soles of your feet; and examining the back of your neck and scalp with a hand mirror (remember to part your hair for a closer look).
While self-exams are recommended monthly, you should also get a full-body, professional skin exam by a dermatologist annually (or more often if you’re at higher risk for skin cancer).
Need help finding a dermatologist? The Skin Cancer Foundation offers a Physician Finder where you can enter your zip code to help find a doctor near you.