What is a Full Body Skin Exam?

A full body skin exam is an easy but important procedure, since the majority of skin conditions are highly treatable with early detection. A full body exam is fast, painless and non-invasive and should be a part of your annual health routine. But what exactly does the procedure involve?

What Does the Exam Entail?
Generally, your dermatologist will ask you questions about your history of sunburn and any past skin issues you may have had. Either before or after you speak to the doctor about your past skin issues, you’ll be asked to change into an exam garment.

The doctor will then perform a thorough check of your entire skin surface, from your scalp down to the soles of your feet. This may involve the use of a dermatoscope, a device like a magnifying glass that allows the doctor to illuminate and magnify particular areas of your skin.

With the advent of digital photography, many doctors will now also photographically document any areas of concern. The doctor can then compare these photographs to pictures from a later exam and detect any changes in moles or other spots, either visually or with computer-aided diagnostic tools.

How Should I Prepare for the Exam?
Women should wear their hair loose and remove nail polish before the exam, to allow the doctor to easily examine the scalp and fingernails. You should also be prepared to reapply makeup if necessary, since the doctor may have to remove some to examine particular areas. Both men and women should come prepared to change into exam garments.

If you’ve noticed any worrying moles or other spots on your skin, be sure to mention them to the doctor during your exam. Be honest about any history with indoor tanning or other sun damage. You may also want to ask your relatives about family history of skin cancer or similar conditions.

If the doctor finds any suspicious spots that warrant removal, minor procedures like cryotherapy and biopsies can usually be performed after the full body skin exam.

Why is a Full Body Skin Exam Important?
Severe skin cancers like melanoma lead to many thousands of deaths every year, and early detection is the key to effective treatment. Get in touch with us today for a consultation or to schedule your full body exam. A simple, yearly skin exam could save your life.

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