Everyone can check their own skin. It helps to have someone assist you with those difficult-to-see places. If you have a partner or someone you feel comfortable with, ask them to help you.
With a bit of practice, most people can check their whole body in 15 minutes.
Why not check your skin when you are getting dressed or getting out of the shower?
When you examine your skin, you will need a full-length mirror and a hand-held mirror. You will need to undress completely. The room you use will need to be well lit.
There is no specific skin examination method; the following steps are suggested by the Australasian College of Dermatologists.
Become familiar with your skin and look for early signs of skin cancer or spots that have changed in size, shape or colour over time.
Check your face, head and neck.
- Check your whole face including around the nose, lips and ears.
- Look over your scalp closely.
- Use a hand-held mirror to check behind your ears, underneath your jaw and the back of your neck.
Check your torso—front, back and sides.
- Raise your arms and look at your right and left side.
- Turn your back to the full-length mirror to check the back of your shoulders, upper back, upper arms and lower back.
- Women need to check under their breasts.
Arms and hands
- Look at both your palm and back of your hands.
- Check between fingers and under your fingernails. If you usually wear nail polish, remove your nail polish and look for spots in your nail bed.
- Face a full-length mirror and look at your forearms and upper arms. Bend elbows to look at the undersides.
Legs, buttocks and feet
- Check the front and back of the thighs, lower legs and ankles.
- Use the full-length mirror to check your buttocks and genitals.
- Check the top of both of your feet, toes, toenails and spaces between the toes. Use a hand-held mirror to look at the sole or bottom of your foot. Sitting on a chair may make this easier.