A skin self-exam is used to identify suspicious growths that may be
cancer or growths that may develop into skin cancer (precancers). Adults should
examine their skin once every month. Look for any abnormal skin growth or any
change in the color, shape, size, or appearance of a skin growth. Check for any
area of injured skin (lesion) that does not heal.
To perform a
Stand in front of a full-length mirror. Examine
your body front and back, then examine your right and left sides with your arms
Bend your elbows and look carefully at your forearms, the
back of your upper arms, and your palms.
Look at your feet, the
soles of your feet, and the spaces between your toes.
Using a hand
mirror, look at:
The back of your legs.
of your neck.
Your scalp. Part your hair several times, in
different places, to look at your entire scalp.
buttocks, and genital area.
If you see a suspicious skin growth during your self-exam,
contact your doctor.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerAmy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Amy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.