TOP 5 REASONS WHY YOU NEED REGULAR SKIN CHECKS | Sheperd Integrative Dermatology

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends regular skin checks for good health and well-being. People of all ages and skin colors can be affected by skin cancer. Receiving regular skin checks can increase your chance of catching skin cancer at an early and treatable stage. Continue reading for the top 5 reasons Sheperd Integrative Dermatology believe you should never believe you should miss your annual full body skin exam.

1.Ultraviolet Light

In Charleston, we’re lucky enough to have a warmer climate compared to other parts of the country; however, this means we must be more proactive about our skin health and sun safety. UV rays from the sun damage our skin cells, which can ultimately lead to skin cancer. The risk of UV light depends on how long you are exposed, the strength of the rays, and if you are protected by sunscreen and protective clothing. UVA rays are responsible for about 95% of the UV radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface and are present all year long, even when it’s cloudy! UVB is typically present during the warmer months and is the primary cause of the dreaded sunburn. However, both play a significant role in premature skin aging and skin cancers. By regularly getting a skin cancer screening, you can ensure your skin stays healthy.

2. Skin Color

Fairer skinned individuals are at the highest risk for skin cancer. This is because individuals with darker skin types produce more melanin, a pigment in our skin that protects against the effects of sun damage. While fair skinned individuals are at a higher risk for skin cancer, that doesn’t mean individuals with darker complexions don’t get skin cancer. Therefore, it is important for everyone with all skin types to have annual total body skin exams.

3. Age

Age is also a predictor of skin cancer. Older individuals are at a higher risk than younger simply because they’ve had more sun exposure. Nonetheless, skin cancer is becoming more prevalent in young people as they continue to sunbathe both in tanning booths and outside. In fact, melanoma is now eight times higher in women under age 40 than it was 40 years ago. Both young and old alike need annual skin checks.


This may come as a surprise, but there are gender differences in skin cancer susceptibility. Men are more prone than women to develop skin cancers including squamous cell carcinomas and melanoma. The skin has gender-specific differences that may explain this disparity (Giacomoni et al., 2009). Also, it has been speculated that women are more likely to be conscious of their skin and may take more precautious measures than men in protecting it. Many daily foundations women wear already contain a SPF, which is an added measure of protection that most men do not have.

5.Your Skin History

If you have had skin cancer previously, you are at a higher risk for being diagnosed with skin cancer again. Also, if anyone in your family has had skin cancer, it is essential to receive a regular skin cancer exam because you are at a higher risk for skin cancer than someone without a family history of skin cancer. Finally, someone with numerous moles (more than 50) on their skin is also at an increased risk of developing skin cancer.

If I haven’t yet convinced you to schedule your annual skin check, the following may help: about 1 in 5 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer. It only takes between 10 and 20 minutes (depending on your skin type and the number of moles and spots to be inspected) for a professional to examine your skin. In most cases when found early , skin cancer can be easily and successfully treated.

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Rebecca Repaire


Becky is a board- certified Physician Assistant and has practiced Dermatology for over 18 years. She graduated magna cum laude from her undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia, then completed her Physician Assistant studies at the Medical University of South Carolina. She now practices medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology. She has done extensive training in the use of a dermatoscope and equally extensive training in surgical techniques for the removal of skin cancers. As her practice and skill have continued to grow, cosmetic dermatology has become a passion of hers and she devotes herself enthusiastically to continuing training to ensure she remains at the forefront of innovations with Botox, fillers, threads, and other techniques. She believes that our skin is a reflection of our overall emotional and physical well-being, and she delights in helping patients find their inner beauty.

Amy Jetter


Amy brings her whole heart to her role on the Sheperd cosmetic team.  A graduate of Elon College and the Medical College of Virginia, Amy has been a board-certified nurse for over 30 years.  Bringing her skills as an ICU nurse into her role in cosmetic patient care, Amy provides a warm, reassuring presence to all her clients, listening to their concerns and collaborating with them in a plan to bring forth and enhance their natural beauty.  A standing member of the American Association of Plastic Surgery Nurses and a past RN trainer in cosmetic and aesthetic procedures, Amy offers all types of laser treatments, botox and dermal filler injections, and chemical peels.

Melissa Mancuso

Body Contouring Specialist

Melissa has six years of experience in body contouring, beginning with her role as the CoolSculpting representative for Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Since joining the Sheperd team, she has received additional training and now offers chemical peels, Vivace micro-needling, and Diamond Glow dermal infusion. She loves helping patients feel good about their bodies and teaching them about how the various cosmetic procedures can help them achieve the results they are seeking.

Margaret Gierhart


Margaret, a South Carolina native, is a Licensed Esthetician and makeup artist with over 20 years of experience in the beauty industry. She earned a BA in Psychology from the University of South Carolina. She began her career in beauty as the resident makeup artist for Bobbie Brown cosmetics at Saks Fifth Avenue in Charleston. In order to expand her knowledge, she earned her degree in esthetics from Trident Technical College, graduating with honors. She joined the Sheperd Integrative Dermatology staff in 2014 and is certified in a wide array of cosmetic procedures and skin care products. Her offerings include laser skin resurfacing, IPL, micro-needling, chemical peels, radio frequency, laser hair removal, and body contouring. Her background in both psychology and artistry gives her a deep capacity to care for patients and understand what makes them feel beautiful. A mother of two daughters, Margaret understands beauty as not only external appearance, but also as a manifestation of the inner qualities of kindness, generosity, and well-being.

Madeline Anderson


Maddie is a board-certified Physician Assistant and a Lowcountry native. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Clemson University and then went on to earn a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from the Medical University of South Carolina, graduating with highest honors. While in PA school, Maddie served as a Student Representative for the SC Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants. After graduation, she completed a six-month advanced dermatology internship here at Sheperd Integrative Dermatology. She also completed the Diplomate Fellowship with the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants. Maddie has a heart for medical missions and is passionate about patient education. Her free time is shared with her family, her friends, and her two fur babies!

AnnaKathryn Keiper


AnnaKathryn completed her Doctorate degree at the Medical University of South Carolina and has seven years of experience in dermatology. She has completed additional training in medical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology, and functional medicine. She provides skin cancer screenings, surgical removal of skin cancers, treatment of precancerous lesions, extractions of cysts, and the treatment of acne. In the cosmetic domain, she provides laser, filler, and neurotoxin treatments. Certified through the Institute of Functional Medicine, AnnaKathryn has a special focus on wellness, including weight loss and diet consulting. She uses her expertise in this field to create an individualized program to help each of her patients achieve optimal wellness supporting them in maintaining vibrancy and vitality throughout their lifespan.

Allyson Harrell-Garrison


Ally is a board-certified Physician Assistant and a Diplomate of the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants, their highest rating. She is a graduate of Clemson University and earned her Master’s degree in Physicians Assistant studies at the University of Alabama; additionally, she completed a dermatology fellowship at Charlotte Dermatology in North Carolina. For more than ten years, her focus on both medical and surgical dermatology has included identifying and treating skin cancers as well as managing biologic medications for psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Ally has a strong love of surgical dermatology and she performs surgeries every day in the clinic, including excisions of cysts and skin cancers. She also loves the challenge of a difficult case! On the cosmetic side, Ally is a skilled injector of both Botox and Dysport. She sees compassion and empathy as vital qualities that she brings to all her patient interactions. She is mindful that skin cancer screenings can be frightening or overwhelming; her warm, calm manner and her focus on patient education throughout each appointment make her an outstanding clinician.
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