A Skin Check-up With Dr. Laura Morris Helps Take the Worry Out of Summer
Whether it’s backyard grilling, afternoons poolside, or a game at the ballpark, summertime in Texas is synonymous with the outdoors. The hazards of the season — namely mosquitoes and sunburns — seem like a small price to pay for the freedom and exhilaration of fine weather and good times. No one wants to pay for their fun with their health, however. While sunburns fade and mosquito bites heal, damage from overexposure to the sun can have lingering and serious consequences.
To take some of the worry out of summer, it’s advisable to schedule a check-up with a respected dermatologist. Dr. Laura Morris has served Fort Worth with care and attentiveness for over 20 years. Worried about what you might learn? Never fear, says Dr. Morris:
“The good news is that 90 percent of the time, there’s nothing to worry about,” she explains. “People are afraid they’ll get bad news, and it prevents them from getting a check-up. Even if there’s something worrisome, almost everything is curable.”
The need for an annual check-up becomes even more important for certain segments of the population.
“Of course, fair-skinned people are the most at risk,” says Morris. “Also, people who had a lot of sunburns growing up, and those who spend a lot of time outside. People who enjoy the outdoors recreationally tend to not protect themselves as well as those who work outside.”
While most people understand the threat of melanoma, its warning signs are not as well known. When it comes to moles and odd blemishes, Morris says to watch out for the ABCs: asymmetry, border, and color.
“If a mole is a circle or oval, it’s probably fine,” says the doctor. “As for the border, it’s a good sign if it’s smooth. A single color is usually fine, while multi-colored spots and those that are black, white, and red are worrisome. Everything is relative, however, and these signs only mean that something needs to get checked.”
A check-up only takes about 10 minutes, and Dr. Morris strives to ensure the comfort of her patients. “Patients can simply take off their shirt for an examination of the back, chest, head and neck,” says Dr. Morris. “After that, we encourage patients to let us see their legs and feet. Modest patients are welcome to bring athletic shorts.” As for those who feel self-conscious about their weight, Dr. Morris offers reassurance.
“Listen, we could all stand to lose a few pounds,” she says. “We’re not here to lecture anyone. We just want to look at your skin, and that’s it.”
The exam itself lasts only a few minutes, with the remainder of the time spent in conversation with the doctor. Should a patient need a removal, the procedure is virtually painless. As for daily practices to protect oneself, Morris has some tips:
“I have been telling my patients to wear a zinc-oxide based sunscreen on the head and neck for normal days around town,” says Morris. “For that, try to find a sunscreen that’s 30 SPF. If you plan on sweating, go up to 50 SPF, and consider a sport spray that comes with an insect repellent.”
Wise advice from a wise woman; heed Morris’s guidelines for your skin, and you can count on many more years of fun in the sun.