man getting a total body skin exam

Total Body Skin Exams

Understanding the Importance of Total Body Exams for Comprehensive Health

Your skin is the body’s largest organ and its first line of defense. Caring for it with a quality regimen, daily sunscreen, monthly skin self-exams, and an annual skin exam with your dermatology provider are important wellness goals.

A Total Body Skin Exam allows us to check your skin from head to toe for signs of cancer and other conditions, including acne, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis. We can discuss healthy skin habits, the optimal skincare regimen for your skin type, and any cosmetic treatments you are considering.

Why an annual skin exam is important

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., with one in five Americans developing it in their lifetime. Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma at least once.

The good news: when detected early, skin cancer is highly treatable. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends monthly self-exams and an annual skin exam performed by a dermatology expert. Individuals at a higher risk for skin cancer may benefit from more frequent exams.

Seventy to 80 percent of melanomas are detected on normal appearing skin; only 20 to 30 percent are found in existing moles. Skin cancer also occurs in areas you aren’t able to see, such as your back or scalp. A Total Body Skin Exam allows us to check you thoroughly to give you peace of mind.

We want you to love the skin you’re in. An annual skin exam helps us identify other issues to help you maintain healthy and beautiful skin, such as healing nuisance rashes, caring for chronic skin issues, adjusting skincare routines and refilling prescriptions.

How to prepare

To make the most of your exam, take these actions before your appointment:

  • Examine your skin and make a list of concerns to address with your provider, including rashes or moles and marks that are new, itch, burn, bleed, or have changed.
  • Make a list of questions to discuss, including chronic skin issues (such as acne and dry skin), products for your skin type, anti-aging support, etc.
  • Remove all makeup and nail polish.

What to expect

A full-body exam is fast, painless, and non-invasive and is a vital part of your annual wellness routine. During the exam, we will:

  • Ask you to change out of your clothes into a hospital gown
  • Examine the health of your skin from the top of your head to the bot­toms of your feet to check for skin cancer and conditions like acne, eczema or psoriasis
  • Check the “ABCDEs” of your moles (asymmetry, border irregularity, color, diameter and evolving); we may use a lighted magnifying glass to inspect a sus­pi­cious spot or growth
  • Answer your questions and discuss your skin cancer risk and healthy skin habits, including sun avoidance and protection
  • Address other issues (time permitting), such as optimal products for your skin type, premature aging and other cosmetic concerns

If we find something unusual

If your provider notices an area of concern, they may perform a biopsy as a precautionary measure to determine if it is benign or cancerous. We will apply a numbing agent and remove a small skin sample to send to the lab to be analyzed. If the biopsy is benign, no further action is required; we will discuss treatment options with you if cancer is detected.

Schedule your comprehensive annual exam

Our board-certified dermatologists and advanced practice providers at Pinnacle Dermatology are trained to screen, diagnose and treat all disorders of the skin, including skin cancer. We look forward to helping you achieve the healthiest skin of your life.

Skin Cancer General Dermatology Skin Exams