Nothing bad ever happened from a little nudity. Actually, we take that back. We have no way of fact checking that statement, and to be completely honest, we can think of a couple of things… But when it comes to preventing skin cancer, getting naked is key. Just don’t do it in broad daylight without some sun protection. Getting naked to check your skin for melanoma can stop dangerous skin cancer in its tracks, as long as you know what to look for. The warning signs are often visible on the outside of your body, so start doing routine skin checks once a month.
Skin cancer is almost always curable when it's found early.
Here's how to check your skin for melanoma.
1. Gather your supplies: a full-length mirror, a smaller mirror, a blow dryer, a body map and something to write with.
2. Using a blow dryer to move your hair around, inspect your scalp. This part is much easier if you get someone to help you.
3. Examine your face. Don't forget to look on, around, inside and behind your lips, tongue and ears.
4. Scan your hands, checking in between the fingers, under the fingernails and on the palms and wrists.
5. Evaluate your forearms and elbows. Use a mirror to view the hard-to-see areas.
6. Inspect your upper arms in front of the full-length mirror. Check out the front, back, and sides of the arms. Don't forget to lift them up to check out the underarms and armpits.
7. Look at your neck, chest and torso in front of the full-length mirror. Lift your breasts to check underneath them.
8. Turn around so that your back is facing the full-length mirror. Use the hand mirror to examine your back and shoulders.
9. Use the hand mirror to view your lower back, butt and the backs of your legs.
10. Check out the front, back and sides of your lower legs and ankles.
11. Use the hand mirror to examine your genitals.
12. Inspect the tops and bottoms of your feet, and look in between your toes.
Write down your findings, or draw out your moles on a body map. The more frequently you check your skin for melanoma, the more familiar you will get with the spots on your skin, making it easier to notice when something has changed.
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Take this month to make this a routine--checking your skin for melanoma is as easy as brushing your teeth, and you don't have to do it nearly as often.