We often stare at ourselves in the mirror — when we’re washing our faces or putting on makeup. But it’s very easy to miss certain things. A new spot, a few lines, a mole that may have grown.
One thing we should all be doing is taking the time to carefully examine our skin regularly.
What should I be looking out for?
New spots on your face, especially after spending too much time in the sun. Check in every two weeks to see if the spots subside. If they don’t, watch to see if your dark spots have started to evolve. Dark spots are rarely larger than a quarter of an inch (6mm) in diameter, are symmetrical, have regular borders and should be flat and painless to the touch. However, if you’ve noticed any that have become asymmetrical, have irregular borders or changed in shape and size, you should consult a doctor. The situation is even more urgent if these spots have started to itch, even bleed.
Where should I be looking?
Dark spots are more likely to develop on skin that’s exposed to the sun — especially your face and neck. Try to use a magnifying mirror to examine different areas on your face — the cheeks (often where dark spots form) and around the mouth. For areas you can’t see as well, like the back of your neck and behind your ears, use a handheld mirror while standing in front of a large mirror. Don’t forget your scalp! While in front of a mirror, use a hairdryer to part your hair to expose different sections of your scalp.
To keep track of your spots, take photos of your face or close-ups of certain areas at bi-weekly intervals for comparison. It can take up to six weeks for skincare to work effectively, so don’t expect daily improvements. A bi-weekly self-check will be sufficient to notice a change.
Of course you can use this method to check for more than just dark spots. You can monitor your progress for inflammations, acne and fine lines as well. Do this examination monthly and you’ll be on top of your skin game.