YOUR SKIN CHECK: what to expect

Thank you for choosing Dermatology Hawke’s Bay for your upcoming skin check appointment. Below you’ll find a range of frequently asked questions about skin checks for you to read prior to your appointment. 

We look forward to seeing you soon. 


A full skin check is a systematic visual assessment of your skin from head to toe, carried out by an experienced specialist dermatologist, to help identify precancerous growths, unstable moles and skin cancer.

Prior to your skin check, it would be helpful for you to note down any new moles or growths that you are specifically concerned about.  Highlighting changes to your skin allows a more tailored focused skin examination, thereby helping address your specific concerns.  

Removing all make-up and nail polish prior to attending your skin check is ideal, and thereby making it easier for the specialist dermatologist to examine your skin.  Alternatively, you can remove your make up whilst in the clinic room prior to the examination.  If you have no concerns regarding your face, and prefer to leave your make up on, then simply inform the nurse attending to you.

When you first arrive in our clinic, you will be greeted by a receptionist before being taken into a consulting room by your dermatology nurse. 

The nurse will explain the process of the skin check and answer any questions you may have.  At this stage, you can also advise the nurse of any issues you have identified and would like the dermatologist to check. 

Once you’re in the consulting room, your nurse will draw a curtain around a changing area and ask you to remove your clothes, except for your underwear (underpants and bra), and put on a gown that is provided. The nurse will leave the room while you are changing.

Your skin examination will be carried out by a specialist dermatologist in the presence of a dermatology nurse.

At Dermatology Hawke’s Bay, we welcome you to bring a family member or friend for additional support, should you feel this necessary. 

A detailed skin examination using a dermatoscope (specialist hand-held device to look at moles / growths) requires the dermatologist to get quite close to you. At Dermatology Hawke’s Bay, we understand that it can feel quite strange to be examined so closely, but  this is necessary to detect early signs of skin cancer. The dermatologist will wear special magnifying glasses (loupes) together with a dermatoscope, which helps to show details in the outer layer of your skin which are not visible to the naked eye. The dermatologist will move quickly across your entire body, checking all areas for any issues or abnormalities.  

Skin cancer can occur on any part of your skin, so as much of your skin as possible will be checked, including areas that don’t see the sun. The skin check will cover your scalp, face, mouth, eyes and eyelids, ears, torso, arms, hands, fingers, fingernails, legs, feet, toes and toenails. Your doctor will check that it’s ok to pull your underwear aside to check the skin there too. 

Please advise your nurse or dermatologist if you don’t wish for certain areas of your skin to be checked. 

A skin check is a safe, non-invasive process using vision only – no x-rays are used. It’s safe for adults and children, and also during pregnancy.

Although your appointment may last 20-30 minutes, the actual skin check with the specialist dermatologist is a surprisingly quick procedure. Specialist dermatologists  are highly experienced professionals who follow a systematic process. With the trained eye,  we can quickly pick up any issues that require further investigation and treatment.  

The specialist dermatologist will let you know during the skin check if there are any lesions of concern and recommend a treatment plan. If there are no concerns, then simply monitoring may be all that is required.  

Any treatment or removal of moles will depend on your unique requirements. We are often able to complete small procedures such as diagnostic skin biopsies within the same appointment, which will be carried out by your attending dermatology nurse. However, depending on the issues identified or treatment required, another appointment will be booked for you. 

Yes.  Any procedures that are carried out during your skin check appointment are charged in addition to the skin check. Your doctor or nurse will explain these charges to you. Payment is required on the day of the appointment. 

Yes.  All moles removed or skin samples that are taken are sent away for testing which usually takes 10-14 days. The specialist dermatologist will write to you and your GP with the results.  If any further treatment or follow up is required from the skin biopsies that were taken at your original appointment, the dermatology nursing team will phone you to convey these results and book a suitable time for you.  

It is entirely normal to feel nervous and we completely understand. The anxieties of having an examination at close proximity, coupled with the fear of having skin cancer, are all too familiar to us.  At Dermatology Hawke’s Bay, with our highly-experienced team, be rest assured that we will do all we can to make your experience as comfortable as possible with the best possible care. And remember, regular skin checks are the most effective way of ensuring early diagnosis and timely treatment for skin cancer.

If you have any further questions around your upcoming skin check, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand. However, the chance of cure is high if detected early.