Summer has come to a close, and fall is upon us here in the Valley. And it couldn’t have been a better time for the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) to release a new video titled, “Skin Self-Exam: How to Do,” which demonstrates how to check your skin for cancer and what to look for.

With skin cancer the most common cancer in the United States, it takes just a few minutes, your eyes and a mirror to check your skin for cancer. Solicit the help of a friend or partner for an extra set of eyes in order to check more hard-to-see areas, including your back.

American Academy of Dermatology’s “Skin Self-Exam: How To Do” Video:

When examining the skin, follow AAD’s ABCDEs of Melanoma:

If any moles exhibit the following signs, make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.

A = Asymmetry. Photo:

A = Asymmetry

One half is unlike the other half.

B = Border. Photo:

B = Border

The spot has an irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.

C = Color. Photo:

C = Color

Is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown or black, or is sometimes white, red, or blue.

D = Diameter. Photo:

D= Diameter

Melanomas usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.

E = Evolving. Photo:

E = Evolving

A mole or spot on your skin that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.

How to Check for Spots:

When checking your skin, look at all of the spots on your body; this includes moles, freckles and age spots.

  1. Examine body front and back in mirror, then right and left sides, arms raised.
  2. Bend elbows, look carefully at forearms, back of upper arms, and palms.
  3. Look at backs of legs and feet,spaces between toes, and soles.
  4. Examine back of neck and scalp with a hand mirror. Part hair and lift.
  5. Finally, check back and buttocks with a hand mirror.

*Source: American Academy of Dermatology

For more information about the American Academy of Dermatology, visit