It is recommended to have a full body skin check every year. If you have had skin cancer in the past, please, please, please follow your doctor’s recommendations. Depending on which type of skin cancer, and your family history your doctor may want you to make more frequent visits.
There are warning signs that we as skin therapists look for and can make recommendations to see your dermatologist. Here are the A, B, C, D and E of a skin irregularity:
The ABCDE’s of skin irregularity
A- Asymmetry: one side is different from the other side.
B- Border: irregular edges.
C- Color: has the color changed recently? Does it have varying colors within the area?
D- Diameter: how large around? Has it grown in size and/or is it bigger than a pencil eraser?
E- Evolving: has the area changed in size, shape or color?
Visit the American Academy of Dermatology website for more information about the ABCDE’s of melanoma.
Many of my clients see me as a first defense to skin problems. It is out of my scope to diagnose skin cancer, etc. But with regular treatments I can often see changes and alert you to see a doctor as soon as possible. I have had many clients who have returned so thankful. I have often heard, “Wow, I’m so glad you encouraged me to see my dermatologist! They removed that spot you told me about and it was cancer.” I always highly encourage you to follow through with your doctor’s recommendations. Skin Cancers, such as Basal Cell Carcinoma or Squamous Cell can be easily removed, and there is no further treatment required.
The American Academy of Dermatology has resources to help you navigate your own skin health including “How to do a Self Check.” Click here for details.
How your esthetician can help identify possible skin concerns
As a licensed esthetician, I cannot diagnose skin cancer. However, as a skin therapist I can be your first defense. Skin Therapists notice when something doesn’t look quite right, and we tend to take photos so that we can see changes over time.
I have noticed many things that look suspicious and have encouraged my clients to see their dermatologist. I am so glad when my clients take it seriously and get checked. Many times I have also had clients who see their dermatologist regularly say that everything was okay a month or two before at a doctor’s visit, but when I have expressed concern they have gotten checked again, and found skin conditions that needed to be addressed.
Doctors believe that 1 out of 5 people will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. The good news is, when caught early, it can be treatable. Do your self checks, and see your esthetician and your dermatologist regularly to ensure that any skin concerns are addressed quickly. I look forward to seeing you in my treatment room soon!