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Selfie skin checks?

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A quarter of Australians are taking an estimated 100 million potentially life-saving snapshots a year, according to new research

Almost one in four (24%) Australians have taken photographs of their skin to keep track of moles, according to independent research commissioned by skin checking app Miiskin.

And nearly a third of 25-34 year olds (31%) are now taking such pictures at least once a month, according to the nationally representative survey of 1,003 Australian adults.

The survey also found 45% were worried about the risk of skin cancer because of the weather, although just one in three (34%) said they always use sunscreen when exposed to the sun.

While 75% knew it was important to check for new moles, one in eight (13%) thought they only needed to monitor their skin for changes if a medical professional had advised them to.

“Awareness of the importance of skin monitoring is increasing, with many people now documenting changes to their skin’s appearance,” says Jon Friis, founder and CEO of Miiskin.

“While technology should never replace advice from a medical professional, it can help people spot significant changes occurring on their own skin.  Early detection is important for successful treatment.”

Other findings from the survey include that:

  • One in seven under 35s (15%) believed it would be safer to use a tanning bed than to get a tan from the sun
  • One in nine under 45s (11%) admit they would rather have a month without alcohol than a month without tanning their skin.

Over 750,000 people a year are treated for non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia, with more than 13,000 melanoma cases a year.

In 2015, more than 2,100 people died from skin cancer in Australia, according to Cancer Council Australia.

Skin cancer is mainly caused by over-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Non-melanoma skin cancers are the most common, with melanoma being one of the most dangerous forms.

The Miiskin app, which is free to download and created to help people track how skin and moles look, has already received 100,000 downloads globally, including 12,000 in Australia.

Miiskin is running a campaign during February, donating $1 to Cancer Council for each download in Australia (up to a maximum of $10,000).

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