Play 0:00 Skin self-examination, or SSE, is a personal screening process that can alert you to changes in your skin. Initially, it’s a good idea to have your provider perform a full-body exam to assure that any existing spots, freckles, or moles are normal. This exam can serve as a baseline for future self-exams. Conducting a careful, deliberate, and purposeful visual examination of your skin can help with early detection of skin cancer. It’s a good idea to perform your SSE once a month, but ask your provider if you need more frequent checks. Ideally, the room where you conduct the exam should have a full-length mirror and bright lights so you can look at your entire body. When performing the SSE, look for: New skin markings, such as moles, blemishes, colorations, or bumps Moles that have changed in size, texture, color, or shape Moles or lesions that continue to bleed or won't heal Moles with uneven edges, differences in color, or lack of symmetry Any mole or growth that appears markedly different from other skin growths Examine your skin in the following way: Look closely at your entire body, both front and back, in the mirror. Check under your arms and both sides of each arm. Examine your forearms after bending your arms at the elbows, and then look at the palms of your hands and underneath your upper arms. Look at the front and back of both legs. Look at your buttocks and between your buttocks. Examine your genital area. Look at your face, neck, back of neck, and scalp. It’s best to use both a hand mirror and full-length mirror, along with a comb, to see areas of your scalp. Look at your feet, including the soles, toenails, and the spaces between your toes. Have a person you trust help by examining hard-to-see areas. Do not ignore a suspicious spot, mole, or freckle simply because it doesn’t hurt. If you notice anything suspicious, see your provider right away. Prevention and early detection of skin cancer are extremely important.