Skin checks are crucial to your skin health. A skin check is performed by a specialist to examine abnormalities and identify skin cancer. While self-checking should be completed every three months, it is important to visit a medical professional at least once a year who can examine the skin more thoroughly and identify concerns that are difficult to detect on your own.

At Northside Dermatology, our team of specialist dermatologists offer full skin examinations to help patients identify issues and manage them accordingly. Early detection is essential to your health and can be the key to a smooth and uncomplicated treatment process.

Why Should I Have a Skin Check?

Skin checks are one of the most common reasons patients visit Northside Dermatology. Skin cancer is common and accounts for approximately 80 percent of all newly diagnosed cancers in Australia. While the risk of melanoma increases for those with reduced immunity or a history of skin cancer, melanomas can develop even in healthy individuals, particularly as they age, and can be life-threatening if left untreated. Most melanomas grow silently without symptoms, and many develop due to sun exposure.

We encourage all patients to undergo regular skin checks, as this will allow you to identify signs of sun damage before they become serious. Skin cancer is curable when detected and treated early, and skin checks can also offer invaluable peace of mind.

What Should I Expect During a Skin Check?

During a skin check, you will be asked to undress down to your underwear and remove any makeup. Your specialist dermatologist will perform an examination by assessing your skin thoroughly from head to toe, including the acral skin under the nails and between the toes. You will be asked about your general health and whether you have any specific lesions or spots that are causing concern. While skin checks do not generally extend to the genital area, your specialist dermatologist may ask you if there are any concerning lesions in this area. They will identify any suspicious lesions and determine whether a biopsy is required for further assessment. Some lesions that appear slightly abnormal may require photography through the dermoscope (see below), and patients with extensive dysplastic nevi (abnormal moles) may be asked to complete a set of baseline photographs for future comparison. Your specialist dermatologist will leverage their extensive experience performing skin checks to provide a thorough and comprehensive examination, ensuring any concerns are appropriately managed.

What Technology Is Used for the Skin Check?

Keeping abreast of all technological advances, your specialist dermatologist will conduct your skin check using the latest and highest-quality equipment. Your examination will be performed using the dermoscope (or dermatoscope), which is an advanced, noninvasive medical tool used to inspect lesions unobstructed by skin surface reflections.

What Is a Dermoscope?

The dermoscope comprises a magnifier, a light source and a transparent plate. It is used to critically assess the top layers of the skin including the pigment and vascular patterns of a concerning lesion. Dermoscopy serves to evaluate the colours and microstructures of the dermal layers to identify specific diagnostic patterns, allowing for unparalleled accuracy in diagnosis. This technique is used to distinguish between lesions that are benign and cancerous, particularly in the diagnosis of melanoma.

Since its diagnostic accuracy is operator-dependent, the dermoscope requires extensive training and practice. Our specialist dermatologists use the dermoscope to increase the specificity of diagnosis and avoid the unnecessary surgical excisions of benign lesions.

Should I Get My Skin Photographed (Mole Mapping)?

At Northside Dermatology, we personalise management according to the skin type and condition of each patient. Your specialist dermatologist will likely ask you to have formal full body photographs (mole mapping photographs) taken if you have a large number of moles, irregular mole patterns or a history of melanomas. These images generally do not require frequent repetition but are useful for future skin checks and can also be used for self-examination. Your specialist dermatologist will conduct a detailed assessment of your skin to determine whether photographs will be necessary.

Can I Have Moles Removed to Prevent Melanomas?

Mole removal will depend on your specialist dermatologist’s findings while examining your skin. Most melanomas are new on the skin, while a smaller number develop from existing moles. It is unnecessary to remove moles that have been identified as benign. Doing so does not minimise an individual’s risk of developing melanomas.

Can I Have a Full Body Scan to Detect Skin Cancers?

While technologies are developing rapidly to aid the clinical diagnosis of cancers, there is currently no machine that substitutes a skin check by an experienced dermatologist. Successful skin examinations rely heavily on the accuracy and diligence of trained specialists, as the appearance and feel of skin lesions can only be clinically assessed in-person; photographs of the skin without medical assessment are inadequate for an accurate diagnosis. It is vital to undergo a thorough in-person evaluation by a specialist dermatologist to ensure that premalignant lesions, melanomas and other skin cancers are correctly identified and treated.

What Is the Difference Between a Skin Check by My Dermatologist and My Local Skin Cancer Clinic?

When seeking a professional skin check, it is important to consult a qualified and experienced specialist. Dermatologists are the only specialist doctors recognised by Medicare or the Australian Health Practitioner Regular Agency (AHPRA) as specialists of the skin. All dermatologists who are fellows of the Australian College of Dermatologists (FACD) have received extensive clinical training and education in diagnoses and management of skin disorders, especially skin cancers.

While doctors at skin cancer clinics may have specific qualifications, such as a diploma in practical or clinical dermatology or a membership in a college of skin cancer medicine, these are not specialist qualifications and are not recognised as such by Medicare or AHPRA.

What Should I Expect After a Skin Check?

After your skin examination, your specialist dermatologist will inform you of any necessary follow-up treatments or skin management instructions. They will recommend methods of sun protection and show you how to conduct a thorough at-home skin check. They will also assess your risk profile and advise you on how often you should undergo a professional skin check.

For patients with higher risk factors, we recommend yearly skin checks at the minimum, which can be completed at Northside Dermatology or in a shared care arrangement with your local GP, as advised by our medical team. Depending on whether any concerns are identified, your specialist dermatologist will ensure that you receive all the necessary materials and information required moving forward.

Schedule a Skin Check Today

Skin cancer affects thousands of Australians every year. Regular skin checks are the first and most important step you can take to ensure you are examined and treated accordingly. While this is especially crucial for those with higher risk factors, cancerous spots can develop even on the healthiest individuals. Our specialist dermatologists have extensive experience in melanoma management and dermatology. We care about the health of our patients and consistently advocate the importance of early detection and treatment of harmful spots and lesions, as many are curable when treated early.

At Northside Dermatology in North Fitzroy and Reservoir, we specialise in thorough skin examinations and diagnostic accuracy, and we personalise each treatment according to the needs and skin type of each patient. If you are concerned about the health of your skin and would like to undergo an examination, call Northside Dermatology on 03 8582 8688 and book your consultation today.

Contact Us

Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday, 9am-5pm

Phone Number

03 8582 8688

Fax Number

03 8582 8788

Fitzroy North

379 St Georges Rd
Fitzroy North 3068

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Reservoir

2A Marchant Avenue
Reservoir, Melbourne

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