A couple of days ago I took the kids to the dermatologist. It wasn't for any particular issue. It was just because. Because I want them to get into good habits about wearing sunscreen and hats and such, and hearing that from someone other than Mom is helpful. Because even though I am strict and insistent about sunscreen usage, we do live near the beach and we do enjoy being outside, so we need to be careful, generally speaking. Because there's a history of acne on both sides of the family and I hope to head off potential self-image issues as best I can in the kids' coming adolescent years.
There's also a "don't be like me" reason. I'm old enough to be part of the tin-foil-over-the-triple-LP-cover-to-better-tan-the-face generation (though tail end), when we bought suntan oil (or baby oil), not sunscreen lotion, and before widespread understanding of the dangers of sun over-exposure. I know I am at risk for skin issues and I know I need to keep on top of them. I want my kids to understand that this level of concern is not something they want and it is something they can reduce.
For everyone, mole checks
Every one of us had our bodies checked for abnormal moles. I admit I was concerned about a couple of Alfs moles on his back, but they were small, and he had other small moles with very similar in characteristics so the doctor said that was "just the way he grows them," though we will keep an eye on them. Woody and Sunshine were fine. I was even fine for now. Phew.
Mole checks like this, provided there are no issues, are once a year for us now. If I were to develop other issues related to sun exposure, my visits might increase.
For some of us, skin care pointers
In the world of adolescent boys, Moms often know exactly nothing. And we certainly have never been adolescents and don't know how to deal with adolescent skin. If a mom were, by chance, to suggest that her child wash his face daily with a gentle liquid cleanser, that child might scoff at the ridiculous notion. Hear that same suggestion from a dermatologist, however, and then is has value.
My sons getting some skin care pointers was brilliant. Not only did they take what to doctor said to heart, it helped establish a relationship between the doctor and the boys - a relationship they may well need in the coming years. If skin issues emerge, this established relationship may well improve compliance with care instructions and advice.
The doctor had some instructions for my aging and sun-exposed skin, too. I loved that none of what was recommended wouldn't break the bank. Simple and consistent usage - very importantly sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen - of good, basic drug-store available products should do very well for me.
Thinking about the future
Before we went and while we were there at the dermatologists office, the kids protested a bit. I rather expected that; going to the doctor isn't typically fun! But I know they came away with information and reiteration of important skin care points - and a reiteration of sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. I know one day they will thank me for making sure they know how to best take care of their skin - though that thankfulness may be decades from now.