Why Annual Skin Checks Are Important

Summer is your time to bask in the sun, especially since you may not get a lot of vitamin D during the winter between working and shorter daylight hours. 

While sunshine has its benefits, too much of a good thing can harm you, and that adage is true when it comes to the sun’s rays. 

Those rays don’t just cause skin damage; they can also lead to precancerous skin cells on exposed areas of your skin. The fall is a perfect time to schedule an annual skin checkup with a qualified dermatologist. 

Our three board-certified dermatologists at Seacoast Dermatology provide a full complement of medical and surgical dermatology services. They can help prevent serious cases of skin cancer by catching and treating precancerous cells in the early stages. 

Here are the key reasons why annual skin evaluations are important. 

Skin cancer can be deadly 

The most frequent type of cancer diagnosed in the United States is skin cancer. Physicians treat more than 3 million new cases of skin cancer every year in the country. 

The number of people diagnosed with skin cancer is rising. Young women under the age of 40 have double the rate of skin cancer than that of young women three decades ago. The leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25-29 is melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.

Most skin cancer cases are associated with exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. At Seacoast Dermatology, we can spot precancerous areas early so that they don’t develop into more serious forms of skin cancer. 

Skin cancer can develop from moles and rough patches of skin

You may think of your moles as beauty marks, but if you have a lot of moles, you’re at higher risk of developing skin cancer. People who have many moles or abnormal moles that are not symmetrical or contain more than one color are at increased risk of melanoma. 

We conduct a thorough exam and know what to look for when checking your moles and skin. 

Have you developed a rough patch of skin that may be scaly? It may be an actinic keratosis, which is a precancerous growth that we can remove during your annual exam before it turns into basal or squamous skin cancer. 

Skin cancer can develop where you can’t check easily

You look at your face and hands and parts of your arms and legs every day. But you can’t easily check other areas of your body to see if anything looks different. 

If you have a thick head of hair, it’s hard to check your scalp, especially the back of your head. If you’re a man or woman with long hair, the area behind your ears is another place skin cancer can occur. 

You may think that areas that aren’t usually exposed to the sun get a pass, but that’s not true. The area under your toenails and fingernails, between your toes, on the soles of your feet, on the skin under your pubic hairs, and on your palms can also develop skin cancer. 

The singer Bob Marley died of an unusual type of melanoma that started on his toe. 

At your annual checkup, we can put your mind at ease when you leave with a clean bill of health. If we discover something suspicious, we can remove it before it’s a serious matter.  

UV sun damage builds up over your lifetime

When you were younger, you might not have been careful to use sunblock. As a result, you likely suffered some sunburns. Those early sunburns increase your risk of skin cancer as an adult, as does having fair skin. 

UV damage from the sun is cumulative. Your body can’t repair all of the skin cell damage from too much sun exposure. Over time, cells can mutate and start to multiply too rapidly, leading to a malignancy. 

Living in mountainous New England, you may be a skier. Skiing on sunny days with only a vest or a sweater can be a delight, but prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays over time causes not only premature aging, including wrinkled, leathery skin, but also skin cancer. 

The snow can reflect almost all radiation from the sun, so you’re getting a double dose of the rays, both from the sun and from the snow. 

Call us at Seacoast Dermatology or book an appointment through our online portal to schedule your annual skin evaluation today. We’re located in Portsmouth, Exeter, and Dover, New Hampshire.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Rashes You Should Be Concerned About

You have a rash and wonder what caused it. Did it come from time in the yard or garden? That’s one possibility, but there are others. To be safe, visit a dermatologist to ensure proper treatment for an unexplained rash.

Should I Be Concerned About My Moles?

Moles are sometimes seen as beauty marks. Do you need to worry about them? Maybe. On occasion, some moles can become cancerous. That’s why you should understand what to look for.

Help for Your Eczema

You’ve been diagnosed with eczema. The itching, the scratching, and the broken skin are getting you down. Learn what treatments are available to manage your eczema and how you can use self-care strategies to lessen your symptoms.

Can Nutrition Help Psoriasis?

You have psoriasis. Aside from prescribed medication, there are natural ways to lessen your condition so you have fewer flare-ups. New research suggests what you eat holds a key.

Risk Factors for Ovarian Cancer

Skin disorders can be more serious than a cosmetic problem. One such disorder could be a sign of ovarian cancer. Learn why it’s so important to maintain regular dermatology checkups.