How to check your spots

Get to know your skin and learn what you need to look for.

Regularly self-checking your skin can help you identify the signs of skin cancer and can maximise the chances of detecting skin cancer early. The first sign of a skin cancer can be a new spot, or an existing freckle or mole changing size, shape or colour over weeks or months.

Get to know your skin and what’s normal for you to help you find changes earlier. If you notice any sore, changing, abnormal or new spots during your self-check, have it checked by a GP straight away.

In addition to self-checking regularly, it is also important to get a professional skin check annually by your GP, dermatologist or a skin cancer clinic.

What to look for at home

The Skin Cancer College of Australasia recommends that once a month you “SCAN” your skin looking for spots or moles that are:

  • SORE - A spot which is sore (scaly, itchy, bleeding or tender) and doesn’t heal within 6 weeks
  • CHANGING - In appearance (size, shape, colour or texture)
  • ABNORMAL - Looks different, feels different, or stands out when compared to other spots and moles (e.g. the ‘Ugly Duckling’ – see below)
  • NEW - Spots that have appeared recently

Ugly ducklings: most moles and spots on your body are the same or are similar-looking to each other. Compare your spots with other spots on your body. If any mole or spot stands out or looks noticeably different from that of surrounding spots, it is the “Ugly Duckling”, and should be checked.

Your guide to skin checks

Your guide to skin checks

Self-check at home and stay skin-safe all year round

Simple steps to check your spots at home

Here are some steps to help you and your family keep an eye on your spots so you can stay skin-safe all year round.

  1. In a well-lit room, undress completely and use a full-length mirror to check your whole body, including areas not exposed to the sun
  2. If you’re on your own, use a handheld mirror to check areas that are difficult to see, like your scalp and back, or ask a friend or family member to help
  3. Spend extra time checking your face, neck, shoulders, back, arms, top of your hands, legs, soles of your feet and between your toes

Visit the Cancer Council for more skin-safe tips.

In addition to regular checks at home, you should visit your GP or skin cancer clinic for a professional check. You can talk to them about your skin type and ask for advice on early detection. They can tell you how frequently you should be getting professional skin checks to complement your regular self-checks.

Find a GP near you


Make a habit to self-check

We're making skin checks easier for Australians by partnering with Firstcheck*. Now you can take 'selfies' of spots you're concerned about on your skin and send them directly to skin cancer doctors for review from your smart phone or tablet using the Firstcheck App and SkinScope™.

Visit Firstcheck

"I was 28 and kept getting this dry flaky spot on my forehead near my hair line."

Jade Custance is a skin cancer survivor. Here she shares her story and knowledge behind the condition to encourage everyone to commit to annual skin checks.

"I was 28 and kept getting this dry flaky spot on my forehead near my hair line."
Surviving skin cancer November 03, 2019

"I noticed a freckle on my lower leg had changed colour and shape over the space of a year."

Jessica Pasco is based in Perth and is a survivor of skin cancer.

"I noticed a freckle on my lower leg had changed colour and shape over the space of a year."
Importance of regular skin checks November 19, 2019

* TAL has partnered with Firstcheck to offer the use of the Firstcheck application through TAL’s website, however Firstcheck is independently owned and operated and is not affiliated with TAL. Any information (including personal information and photos) uploaded to, or provided through, the Firstcheck application will be subject to Firstcheck’s terms and conditions. Firstcheck’s privacy policy will apply to the collection and use of all information provided. TAL will not have access to any information or photos uploaded to Firstcheck or sent through the Firstcheck application.