By Dr. Brooke Jeffy
Does your child need a regular skin care check? The answer is maybe.
You may be surprised to learn that there is no consensus on skin cancer screening recommendations even for adults. In fact, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently updated their guidelines concluding there is no mortality benefit to screening asymptomatic adults over age 15 with a skin exam.
Even the American Academy of Dermatology does not specifically recommend annual skin exams but does promote routine self skin checks. However, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends an annual skin exam for adults and the American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Guidelines recommends a yearly age-appropriate physical exam with infants and children undressed which would allow examination of the skin.
There is more consensus that annual skin exams are needed in those with a personal history of skin cancer or other risk factors, such as family history of melanoma or multiple moles. We also know that earlier detection leads to the need for less invasive or extensive procedures to treat said skin cancer.
I give a common sense answer to this question. If it gives you peace of mind to have your child’s skin examined by a dermatologist, please do so. I love these exams as a way to go over what we should look for that would be concerning and to reiterate the importance of sun protection.
Similarly to introducing kids to the dentist at a young age, knowing that there is a doctor that specifically takes care of the skin elevates the importance of caring for it to your kiddo.
It is rare that I recommend continued annual skin exams for a child. I may recommend it if there is a family history of melanoma or a large number of moles. I also discuss parental comfort and the fact that pediatricians are generally looking over the skin and should refer to dermatology if there are any concerns.
Dr. Brooke Jeffy is a board-certified dermatologist that has been practicing in North Scottsdale for nine years. She practices dermatology differently by combining medical dermatology, lifestyle approaches and skincare to create skin health for her patients. Her favorite condition to treat is acne and she loves teaching tweens and teens how to care for their skin. In addition to running her own private practice, Dr. Jeffy is the founder of btwn skincare, a product line and educational resource for tweens and teens to help them get started with healthy skin and wellness habits. To learn more or schedule an appointment, go to www.brookejeffymd.com. For tween/teen skincare tips IG @brookejeffymd