Just like going to the beach or lounging by the pool, it’s just as important to start applying sunscreen when you head to the course. Even more important than just applying sunscreen, it should also be on your list to set up an annual skin exam with a dermatologist.
I meet more than my fair share of golfers that end up with skin spots or cancerous spots on their skin that have to be removed. Including myself. I’ve never had anything cancerous, thankfully. But I’ve had to have several spots removed so they could be tested. While it is scary, it’s better to know than to not know. So what happens when you go to a dermatologist for this annual skin exam? Let’s walk through it! It’s pretty easy.
During the Annual Skin Exam
Just like any other doctor’s appointment, you get into the exam room and you get into one of those gowns. The kind where you have to tie in the back? Yeah. That one. So uncomfortable. The doctor comes in, asks questions about your sunscreen habits and if you have any concerns. Let me tell you right now, that the spray on sunscreen is not going to cut it. You need to be spraying it on and then also rubbing it in. And then reapplying part way through your round. I’ve been told several times now.
After the questions, the doctor will slowly look over your skin to check for anything that may look out of the ordinary. While doing this, they will circle any unsuspecting areas with one of those purple medical pens. Easy enough, right? Well here we go.
If you’re lucky enough to not have any circled areas, great job! You’re basically free to go. If you didn’t get away so easy, then you may have some spot removal coming your way. There are two ways I’ve had this done, neither are great but one does heal quicker. They can punch the spot out, so it kind of is like a hole punch…and then they put in some stitches. This takes longer to heal is it is usually fairly deep. Or they can scrap the spot. Does not need stitches! Just a bandaid.
The stitches one? I had that on my right shoulder during 2016 Q School. Those stitches caught on my shirt the whole time, until they were supposed to come out that week. Didn’t have any scissors so I ended up having my dad cut them out with nail clippers. It was all around a bad idea but they came out eventually.
So! Moral of this long story is that if you haven’t already, you should really consider getting an annual skin exam done if you are an active golfer. Also remember it is extremely important to reapply your sunscreen! It could be a life saver!