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Why you need a skin check when you arrive in Australia

Australia has one of the world's highest skin cancer rates

Male university student studying in Australia wearing a denim shirt
Male university student studying in Australia wearing a denim shirt

Australia is famous for its sunny days, so you’re going to want to make the most of the beautiful weather, wherever in Australia you are! But if you’re heading out to enjoy the sun, there are some important precautions you need to know about.

Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Most importantly, the majority of skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun – specifically, to ultraviolet (UV) light. This is why it’s important to protect yourself from the sun if you like spending time in it.

There are a few reasons why Australia has such a high rate of skin cancer:

  • The weather is super sunny, particularly in summer

  • Australia is close to the equator, which means UV levels are higher here than in some countries

  • The ozone layer above Australia is relatively thin, which also means UV levels are higher

  • The Aussie lifestyle involves a lot of being outdoors, whether hiking, swimming or playing sport – which means a lot of exposure to the sun!

In addition to protecting your skin from the sun by wearing sunscreen, one of the best things you can do to safeguard yourself against skin cancer is to check your skin.

Most skin cancers are found by people checking their own skin or a loved one checking their skin

Why you should perform a skin check

The sooner skin cancer is spotted, the easier it is to treat and the better your chance of avoiding negative effects such as surgery or death. Most skin cancers are found by people checking their own skin or a loved one checking their skin.

This is why regularly checking your skin is important. If you understand what’s normal for your skin, you’ll know if there are any changes and have the best chance of catching skin cancer and treating it as early as possible.

How to perform a skin check and what to look for

You can either perform a skin check yourself or go see a professional. It’s a good idea to check your skin every six months.

To check your skin yourself, you need a well-lit room, a full-length mirror and a handheld mirror (or a loved one to help you). Follow these simple steps to check your skin:

Having regular skin checks performed by a doctor is one of the best ways to protect yourself from skin cancer. To do this, you can visit a GP, a dermatologist (specialist) or a skin cancer clinic. It’s always a good idea to do a self-check yourself first. That way, you can show them anything you’re worried about or that has changed.

Make sure you don’t wear makeup or nail polish or tie your hair up, so the doctor can see your skin clearly (even under your nails and on your scalp!). Also, wear something comfortable that is easy to take on and off.

The GP, dermatologist or clinician will check your skin using a dermatoscope – which is more powerful than the human eye.

Using nib’s Skin Profiler

There’s a lot of information out there about skin cancer and protection, so it can be hard to know exactly what will work best for you.

nib’s Skin Profiler offers personalised recommendations from reliable resources you can trust. This includes tailored insights for your skin type, a skin cancer risk calculation, information about how to check your skin and personalised content based on your information.

To access this helpful information, you’ll need to answer a few confidential questions. The more details you provide, the more recommendations we can give you.

The tips throughout this article serve as broad information and should not replace any advice you have been given by your medical practitioner.