When Should I See a Dermatologist?
How many of you grew up not using sunscreen? How many of you rarely use sunscreen now daily? Do you go for annual skin checks at a dermatologist? Do you know the warning signs of skin cancer? Have you ever had a sunburn?
When I was growing up, no one ever talked about sunscreen. We were outside all of the time in the sun having fun! In my 20’s I started taking good care of my skin as far as using great products, but I wasn’t always really diligent with wearing sunscreen every time I was in the sun. I got many burns over the years, especially on my nose. As I got older, I did become diligent with wearing sunscreen year-round and actually stopped laying out baking in the sun often. I love the warmth of the sun on my skin! But I also knew it could damage and age my skin as well, so I started to limit my sun exposure, wear sunscreen, wear a hat if in the sun, stay under an umbrella, etc.
Three years ago when I was washing my face, I noticed a pinprick size of blood on my nose. I thought that was odd because that had never happened before. So it went away but I knew I needed to keep an eye on it if it happened again. Well 2 months later, it did happen again. That pinprick size of blood in the same spot. I knew I better go to the dermatologist to have it checked.
It was my first time going to a dermatologist, and yes it was basal cell skin cancer, and I needed MOHS surgery where they take several layers of your skin off to get rid of all of the cancer. After the MOHS surgery, I had a deep hole in the top of my nose. It looked like someone had burned a cigarette on my nose! Again, this was an extremely small pinprick size on the surface skin cancer. But there is always more lurking underneath. I’m very fortunate I went in when I did because it could have been much worse if I had ignored it.
So I wanted to share my personal story to encourage everyone to please protect their skin, and if you see ANYTHING you’re not sure of, please go see a dermatologist right away, It could be nothing. But if it is something, you want to take care of it in a timely fashion.
I know several people that have waited to have something checked until it had advanced, and they are disfigured by having to have a huge part of their body removed due to skin cancer. I have also lost a couple of friends to melanoma. Skin cancer can develop even in children. It can be found on the bottoms of the feet, and even places where the sun doesn’t shine. So please be aware of your body. It is extremely important to start going for annual skin checks at a dermatologist even if nothing is wrong, so they have a baseline of your skin. Then you want to go every year to make sure all is good.
Please do NOT use tanning beds! Tanning beds increase your risk of developing melanoma by 75% if you use them under 35 years old. Don’t use them at any age! You are literally baking your body on the inside & out! Very dangerous! More people develop skin cancer from tanning beds than develop lung cancer from smoking.
Talk to your derm if you notice any changes in your skin like a new growth, a change in an old-growth, a sore that doesn’t heal, bleeding that doesn’t go away or bleeds then goes away & then comes back, or scaly spots. It could be absolutely nothing. But it’s better to be safe than sorry.
So please make that dermatologist annual skin check appointment now and be sun safe year-round!