With the arrival of a new year, comes new beginnings, new resolutions, new promise, new dreams  and new hope to come in this year. Ask yourself what are important goals that you have pushed aside for a variety of reasons. What is holding you back from accomplishing those goals? It is yourself, someone else or your circumstances?

Make a list of priorities for the year. Just because it is on your list does not mean that it needs to be accomplished in one week or even one month. There are twelve months in each year, and 52 weeks as well. These time frames provide opportunities for the accomplishment of these goals.

Every year in January, I have patients who come to me with a commitment to make a change. They choose to maintain and improve their health by getting a full body skin examination. Regardless of whether they are fair-complected or darker, have a family of skin cancer or have had a little or a lot of sun exposures over time, everyone over the age of 18 years should obtain a full body skin exam annually. If there is a personal history of skin cancer, that time frame reduces to every six months.


Many times upon examination, I find things that the patient was either unaware of having, or simply did not feel that it was suspicious or dangerous to their health. Simultaneously, there are lesions on the skin that patients come in to the office in a panic, having had several sleepless nights after finding it while showering or changing clothes, only to have me look at the lesion and reassure the patient that it is absolutely nothing which needs to be worried about or treated unless there are symptoms associated with it such as itching, tenderness or burning. In those cases, I leave it up to the patient to determine whether they would like such benign but symptomatic lesions removed or left in place.

colorescience sunforgettable

Lastly, although the new year begins in the heart of winter when we typically get overcast days and our clothing typically covers most of the body, we cannot forget the importance of daily sunscreen use. Whether you think you are going to be outside or not, I advise all of my patients to apply sunscreen the same way they brush their teeth –twice daily. I recommend an SPF of 30 or higher, and I highly recommend re-application of that sunscreen every 2-4 hours, even if working indoors. The newer Colorescience Sunforgettable powder sunscreen in SPF30 and SPF50 are great products that allow easy re-application of sunscreen throughout the day.

The first of the year is a good time to remind ourselves about the checklist to run through upon examining moles of color. The ABCDs of moles and melanoma are Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color change or irregularity, and Diameter greater than a pencil eraser. Now we have an E –Evolving and new lesions on the skin. If any of these ABCDs are visualized, it is definitely time to make a resolution to see your dermatologist.