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Mohs Fellowship Trained Surgeon

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What Happens During a Full Body Dermatology Exam

full body exam photo

A Full Body Exam by a Dermatologist

Like any other medical exam, a healthcare provider performs a full body exam, including a medical history review. Your dermatologist will ask about your family history of skin disorders. Your provider will also review your symptoms, medications, and allergies.

Discussion of any concerns you may have

A skin check is a great time to bring up any concerns about your skin, such as moles and any spots that have recently changed, started bleeding, or begun to hurt. If you are like many patients, you are in tune with your skin and can spot irregularities. 

Changing into a patient gown

You will need to change into a gown for this examination. Please remove your bra and underwear unless you are incredibly uncomfortable about it. Skin cancer can occur on areas of your skin not ordinarily exposed to sunlight.

Head-to-toe examination

During a full body skin check, your dermatologist will examine your skin from head to toe using tactile detection and sometimes a dermatoscope, which is a lighted magnifier. Many pre-cancerous growths can be felt before being seen, so a thorough exam will include seeing and feeling your skin. A dermatoscope helps your skin doctor determine if a spot or mole is abnormal.

Even in *that* area down there?

In some cases, a dermatologist will examine the genital and perianal skin during a full body exam. At other times, your skin doctor will only examine the skin in these areas if you request it. If you have noted any concerning skin problems or changes in these areas, do not let embarrassment stop you from asking your dermatologist to take a look – don’t let a minute of awkwardness prevent you from catching skin cancer or another skin condition early when it is most responsive to treatment.


If your dermatologist finds a concerning area of skin, they may take a biopsy during the full body exam. A biopsy involves administering anesthesia to numb the skin and then removing a small area of tissue to send to the laboratory for testing.

There are several types of biopsies. The three main types are:

  • Shave biopsy – your dermatologist uses a tool similar to a razor to remove a small section of the top two layers of skin
  • Punch biopsy – your skin doctor uses a sharp, hollow, circular instrument tool to remove a small, circular patch of skin, about the size of a pencil eraser; punch biopsies remove a core of tissue that includes deeper layers of skin
  • Excisional biopsy – your dermatologist uses a small knife, known as a scalpel, to remove a lump or area of abnormal skin; the biopsy will include a portion of normal skin

For more information on what you can expect from a full body skin check, request an appointment with Valley Skin Institute. Our Board-Certified dermatologists and skin health professionals are always glad to answer your questions. In addition, we offer several cosmetic and medical procedures to diagnose and treat various skin conditions, ranging from acne to aging and skin cancer. You can also purchase skincare from Valley Skin Institute to keep your skin healthy.

Dr. Leslie Storey | Valley Skin Institute

Dr. Leslie Storey is a board-certified physician specializing in medical and surgical dermatology. Her mission is to find and remove skin cancer, which she does more than 2,000 times a year. An expert in Mohs Surgery, Dr. Storey’s patients often comment that they are amazed at how minimal their scar is after they have healed from surgery. If you notice anything suspicious on your skin, request an appointment with Dr. Storey to have it checked out.

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