Video and Article by Know Your Own Skin | www.knowyourownskin.com.au
[Header] SELF SKIN CHECK, A STEP BY STEP GUIDE
VIDEO: By carrying out a simple skin check on a regular basis and noting changes over time, you will increase your chances of picking up the signs of sun damage as early as possible. (Uploaded on Dec 5, 2011)
CHECKING YOUR SKIN
Up to one in two Australians will develop sun spots, which can lead to skin cancer if left untreated. In fact, approximately two in three Australians will be diagnosed with a form of non-melanoma skin cancer before the age of 70. Yet despite this, only three in ten Australians over the age of 40 get annual skin checks. It seems many of us don’t know how important a role our skin plays in keeping our bodies healthy and looking well.
As well as having your skin checked by a healthcare professional on a regular basis, you should get into the habit of checking your own skin every three months. By getting to know your own skin, and checking it at the start of each season (for example spring or summer), you will be able to identify any new spots or lesions shortly after they appear on your body. You will also be able to notice any changes to existing spots, freckles or moles.
WHY SKIN CHECKS ARE IMPORTANT
By regularly checking your skin, you give yourself a good chance of spotting the signs of sun damage before they become serious.
Regular self skin checks will not only help you get to know your own skin, they will also help you gain a greater understanding of what is normal on your skin, and what is not. In particular, getting to know your own skin will help you in identifying any new or changing areas of sun damage.
Put simply, the more regularly you check your skin, the greater the chance of detecting a potentially pre-cancerous area of skin before it has the chance to progress to something more dangerous. Sun spots and skin cancers that are identified and treated early have a better outcome than most other types of cancer.
It is rare to find just one sun spot, usually the surrounding area is damaged as the sun’s rays affect all exposed skin and not just the visible sun spot.
WHEN SHOULD I SEE A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL?
In addition to conducting self skin checks at the beginning of each season, you should get a skin check from a healthcare professional at least once a year. You can ask your GP or practice nurse to conduct a skin check as part of your regular health check up.
If you notice a change to your skin during one of your self skin checks, you should consult your GP immediately. Your GP will be able to check the area on your skin, talk to you about risk factors, provide advice on treatment and, if required, potentially treat the area of sun damage. Your GP can also refer you to a specialist if they feel it necessary.
Your doctor is the best person to tell you if you have sun damage. If you do, there are effective treatments that can be used.
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO SKIN CHECKS
Anyone who has been sunburnt or spent a lot of time outdoors is at risk of sun damage. The more sun exposure you have had, the more likely you are to have sun damage.
Everyone living in Australia’s harsh climate should get into the habit of conducting regular self skin checks. In particular, people living in Australia who are over 40 years of age should make self skin checks a priority. This is because the effects of sun damage can take decades to appear on the skin. Many people over the age of 40 lived in the pre-SLIP SLOP SLAP era, and consequently spent time in the strong Australian sunshine with little to no protection.
By carrying out a simple skin check on a regular basis and noting changes over time, you will increase your chances of picking up the signs of sun damage as early as possible.
Downloadable Guide, Body Map, Warning Signs, and Recording Form; How To Do A Self Skin Check
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