photo of hands of multiple skin tones placed in shape of heart. Photo on Dr. James Goydos post about skin cancer prevention.

Self-care is on the rise. A survey by research company OnePoll found that approximately three quarters of Americans surveyed were more conscious of needing self-care in 2020. Analysis of Google Search Trends showed a 250% increase in self-care related searches between 2019 and 2020. This is no surprise, given the harrowing impacts that the pandemic have had on the bodies and minds of everyone, worldwide. 

However, the concept of ‘self-care’ is complex, and involves more than the often touted advice of doing yoga, taking a bath, sleeping in, and other stress reducing activities. While these activities can reduce stress, the concept of self-care should also include behaviours which include self-maintenance, monitoring, and management. 

With this in mind, what does skin care have to do with it? More than you might think. Your skin can be a great indicator of both internal and external health. Skin is the largest organ of the body, and provides a myriad of different functions which are vital to our survival and well-being. 

The skin plays many roles in helping to maintain the health of the body. It not only provides a physical barrier, protecting our internal organs from the external environment, but also plays an essential role in regulating body temperature, or thermoregulation. The skin is also responsible for providing cues of sensation to the body, maintaining proper fluid balance, and protecting against pathogens. 

These functions and more are all performed by the skin without our conscious control. But this does not mean we should not try to be more conscious of how to care for our skin. Skin care is self-care, and should be added to the self-care regimen. 

There are several simple steps which one can take to care for the skin which are easy to incorporate into a daily routine. This is important to consider, as healthy skincare practices should become habits over time. Much like we reach for the toothbrush each day without thinking, we should also reach for our sunscreen, sunglasses, and other gear which can help safeguard our skin. 

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting humans and is one of the most preventable types of cancer through education and public awareness. – Dr. James Goydos 

With this fact in mind, taking the time to consider actions you can take to prevent skin cancer takes on more importance. Safe skincare practices do not have to be complicated to have an impact on your health.

There are thousands of articles which can detail the basics on skincare. This is not one of them: washing your skin and keeping it hydrated should be taken as rote. Taking extra care to help reduce your risk of developing skin cancer requires a few extra considerations. 

Set a self care date with your skin each month

When we think self-care, we may think of monthly massages, fishing trips, manicures, or other monthly check-ins with our interests that help us destress and relax. Caring for our skin can be an easy one to forget, but it is equally easy to add a reminder on our calendar to check-in with our skin. Set a reminder on your phone or add a date on your calendar each month to check your skin for visible signs of skin cancer.  

Conducting regular skin checks can help increase chances of early detection, improve options for treatment and long-term survival rates in the case of a diagnosis. These self-skin checks should be made in addition to, not a replacement for an annual check-in with a medical professional. Depending on your health needs, you may need more frequent check-ups, so always check with your doctor. 

Caring for your skin is important, and should be an essential part of your self-care routine. It may just save your life. 

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