22/02/2024 Skin Cancer

Most of us are well aware of the importance of wearing sunscreen when we venture outdoors to protect our skin from the harsh rays of the sun. However, what many people may not realise is that wearing sunscreen indoors is just as crucial, especially in regions like Australia where the summer sun can be particularly relentless.

The scorching Australian sun is notorious for its intensity, and its harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can penetrate through windows, glass, and even clouds, reaching us indoors. This means that even when we’re inside our homes or offices, our skin is still vulnerable to UV damage. Additionally, exposure to artificial sources of light such as fluorescent bulbs and electronic screens can also emit low levels of UV radiation, further contributing to the cumulative UV exposure our skin experiences.

Here are some compelling reasons to consider wearing sunscreen indoors:

Protection Against UV Exposure & Skin Cancer

Sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are particularly intense, protecting your skin against UV exposure is paramount to prevent skin cancer, including melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of cancer. UV radiation is a known carcinogen, and prolonged exposure to UV rays significantly increases the risk of developing skin cancer. By wearing sunscreen indoors, you can mitigate this risk and safeguard your skin’s health.

Sunscreen serves as a vital defence against the harmful effects of UV radiation. It creates a protective barrier on the skin’s surface, absorbing and deflecting UV rays before they can penetrate the skin. By applying sunscreen regularly, even when indoors, you can reduce your risk of sunburn, premature ageing, and skin cancer caused by UV exposure.

Melanoma, in particular, poses a significant health threat in Australia due to the country’s high levels of UV radiation. Melanoma develops in the melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells in the skin, and can metastasise rapidly if not detected and treated early. UV exposure is a major risk factor for melanoma, making sun protection measures, including wearing sunscreen indoors, essential for preventing this deadly disease.

Moreover, UV radiation not only damages the skin’s DNA, leading to mutations that can trigger cancerous growth but also suppresses the immune system’s ability to detect and destroy abnormal cells. This dual mechanism of UV-induced damage and immunosuppression underscores the importance of consistent sun protection practices, including sunscreen use, to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Prevention of Photoaging

Protecting your skin against UV radiation is essential not only for preventing skin cancer but also for minimising the visible signs of ageing, a process known as photoaging. UV rays can penetrate deeply into the skin, even passing through window glass and clouds, making sun protection necessary both indoors and outdoors, especially in Australia where UV radiation levels are high.

Photoaging occurs as a result of prolonged exposure to UV radiation, leading to the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. Collagen and elastin are proteins responsible for maintaining the skin’s firmness, elasticity, and overall youthful appearance. When these fibers are damaged by UV rays, the skin loses its ability to bounce back, resulting in wrinkles, fine lines, sagging, and uneven pigmentation.

Regular exposure to higher levels of UV radiation, common in Australia due to its geographical location and climate, accelerates the photoaging process. Even brief exposure to UV rays indoors, such as when sitting near a window or under fluorescent lights, can contribute to cumulative UV damage over time.

By wearing sunscreen indoors, you can help prevent photoaging and maintain healthier, more youthful-looking skin. Sunscreen forms a protective barrier on the skin’s surface, blocking harmful UV rays and reducing their ability to penetrate and damage the skin. Additionally, sunscreen helps to neutralise free radicals generated by UV exposure, which can further contribute to skin aging.

Incorporating sunscreen into your daily skincare routine, regardless of whether you’re indoors or outdoors, is crucial for preserving your skin’s youthful appearance and minimising the visible signs of ageing. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to photoaging, and wearing sunscreen consistently is one of the most effective ways to protect your skin from UV-induced damage and maintain a more youthful complexion.

Skin care routine to protect your skin indoors

Maintaining a diligent skincare routine is essential for protecting your skin indoors, especially in a country like Australia with its harsh sun exposure. Here are some key steps to incorporate into your indoor skincare regimen:

  • Keep your skin moisturised: Indoor environments, particularly those with air conditioning or heating systems, can strip moisture from your skin, leading to dryness and irritation. Use a hydrating moisturiser regularly to replenish lost moisture and keep your skin soft and supple. Look for products containing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides, which help to attract and retain moisture in the skin.
  • Apply sunscreen as needed: While it’s tempting to think that you’re safe from UV rays indoors, the reality is that harmful UVA rays can penetrate through windows, putting your skin at risk of damage. To safeguard against UV exposure, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to all exposed areas of skin, including your face, neck, and hands. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially if you’re near windows or spending extended periods of time outdoors.
  • Do not expose your skin without protection: Even if you’re spending the majority of your time indoors, it’s important to avoid exposing your skin to harmful UV radiation without protection. Keep curtains or blinds closed during peak sun hours to minimise UV exposure indoors. Additionally, consider wearing protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats, to shield your skin from direct sunlight.


11/09/2023 BlogSkin Cancer

Skin cancer is a prevalent and concerning health issue worldwide. While prevention and early detection are crucial, it’s also essential to understand the success rates of skin cancer treatments. Advances in medical technology and treatment options have significantly improved the outlook for individuals diagnosed with skin cancer. Let’s understand the factors that influence skin cancer treatment success rates and the various treatment options available.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma or SCC

Early detection is key and hence it is recommended that if you notice any changes in your skin, consult with a skin cancer doctor as early as possible. We are a Skin Cancer Clinic in Maitland and we treat patients from Maitlaind, Newcastle & surrounding areas.

Factors influencing skin cancer treatment success rates

Type and Stage of Skin Cancer: The type and stage of skin cancer play a significant role in determining treatment success. Non-melanoma skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma often have high success rates, especially when detected early. Melanoma, a more aggressive form of skin cancer, has varying success rates depending on the stage at diagnosis.

Early Detection: Early detection is key to successful skin cancer treatment. Regular self-examinations and professional screenings help identify skin cancer in its initial stages, when treatment is most effective. The earlier the cancer is detected, the higher the chances of successful treatment.

Treatment Modality: Different skin cancer treatments yield varying success rates. These modalities include surgical excision, Mohs surgery, radiation therapy, cryotherapy, topical treatments, and immunotherapy. The choice of treatment depends on the type, stage, and location of the cancer.

Patient Health and Immune System: The overall health of the patient and the strength of their immune system impact treatment success. A robust immune response can aid in fighting cancer cells and reducing the risk of recurrence.

Skin Cancer Treatment Success Rates by Type

Basal Cell Carcinoma: With early detection, surgical excision or Mohs surgery has a high success rate of over 95%. These treatments offer excellent outcomes while minimising scarring.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma: When detected early, surgical removal boasts success rates of around 90%. Advanced cases may require additional treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy.

Melanoma: Treatment success rates for melanoma vary widely depending on the stage. Localised melanomas have a high success rate, often above 95%, with surgical removal. Advanced cases might involve a combination of surgery, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy.

Skin cancer treatment success rates have improved significantly due to advancements in medical knowledge and technology. Early detection, prompt intervention, and the choice of appropriate treatment are vital in achieving favourable outcomes.


26/08/2023 BlogSkin Cancer

Skin cancer is a prevalent and serious health concern that affects millions of people worldwide, including Australians. Beyond the physical impact, skin cancer can also have significant effects on a person’s daily life, including their work, personal life, and treatment journey.

Skin Check Maitland Hunter Valley

Here at Elixir @ Hunter, we not only provide high-quality skin cancer treatment in Maitland & Newcastle but also provide the necessary education to help patients be more informed.

Work life

Dealing with skin cancer while maintaining a career can be challenging. Depending on the type and stage of skin cancer, individuals may require treatment that could result in downtime, doctor’s appointments, and fatigue. For some, this may mean taking time off work or adjusting work schedules to accommodate treatment and recovery.

Support from employers and colleagues is crucial during this time, as it can significantly impact a person’s emotional well-being.

Personal life

Skin cancer can also affect a person’s personal life and emotional state. The diagnosis may lead to anxiety, stress, or fear about the future.

Coping with these emotions may require seeking support from friends and family. Additionally, engaging in activities that promote well-being, such as exercise, mindfulness, and hobbies, can help individuals navigate through the challenges.

Treatment journey

The treatment journey for skin cancer varies depending on the type and stage of the disease. Treatments may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or targeted therapy. While medical advancements have made treatments more effective, they can still cause side effects, such as fatigue, pain, or skin irritation. Understanding and preparing for potential side effects can make the treatment process more manageable.

Sun safety and prevention

Preventing skin cancer is a critical aspect of daily life for Australians. Sun safety practices, such as wearing protective clothing, using sunscreen, seeking shade, and avoiding peak sun hours, are essential to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. Incorporating these habits into daily routines is crucial, especially in Australia, where UV radiation levels are high.

Seeking professional help

Regular skin checks and early detection play a vital role in managing skin cancer.

Book your consultation with one of our doctors at Elixir @ Hunter. Whether you looking for skin cancer treatment in Newcastle or anywhere surrounding Maitland, just call us to book an appointment.


26/08/2023 Skin Cancer

Sunlight is beneficial and life-giving; It also promotes the synthesis of vitamin D for the health of our bones , and stimulates the production of melanin in the form of a healthy-looking tan capable of exerting photoprotection to the skin. It helps in improving our mood and reducing depressive feelings.

Different Skin Types

We cannot avoid the sun; it is an everyday part of our life. Yet excessive amounts of radiation can be damaging to our skin, and we cannot ignore the known facts about the cumulative effects of sunlight that are manifested early in the form of sunburn and later in the form of skin aging and skin cancer.

Sun damage to a normal healthy person manifest in various ways as

  • acute sunburn reaction.
  • repeated UVR exposure resulting in photoaging.
  • the induction of precancerous lesions called solar keratosis and skin cancers.
  • premature aging of the lens of our eyes resulting in cataract formation.
  • the alteration of immune responses and of the function and distribution of components of the immune system causing selective immune incompetence.

There is considerable human variability in the tendency to develop these changes both in terms of onset and severity. Persons of different skin colours are very differently susceptible to sun induced skin damage.

The susceptibility of human skin acute and chronic sun damage is directly related to the UV radiation intensity of the sun, duration and habits of sun exposure of the individual, and is inversely related to inherent skin melanin content of the skin (the genetic capacity of the skin to tan) and to its ability to repair photodamaged DNA

Depending on an individual’s personal history of sunburning and suntanning (ability to tan and to stimulate melanin pigmentation) following the first 45- to 60- minute exposure to midday summer sun is very helpful to classify people into the six sun-reactive skin types I through VI.

Skin Type Sensitivity to UV radiations Sunburn and Tanning susceptibility Skin cancer risk
Type 1 – Very fair, Pale white skin, blue/green eyes, blond/red hair Very sensitive Always burns easily, never tans Very high
Type 2 – Fair skin, blue eyes Very sensitive Always burns easily, tans minimally High
Type 3 – Darker white skin Sensitive Burns moderately, tans gradually and uniformly (light brown) High
Type 4 – Light brown skin Moderately sensitive Burns minimally, always tans well (moderate brown) Moderately high
Type 5 – Brown skin Minimally sensitive Rarely burns, tans profusely (dark brown) Relatively low risk
Type 6 – Dark brown or black skin Insensitive Never burns, deeply pigmented (black) Relatively low risk

Individuals of skin types I, 11, and 111 are more susceptible to acute and chronic skin damage than individuals of skin types IV, V, and VI in whom the increased amount of constitutive melanin pigment acts as a major photoprotective shield. This classification of sun-reactive skin types helps the physician and patient to estimate the relative risk for the development of acute and chronic changes related to sunlight exposure.

If you are concerned about your skin and looking for skin cancer clinic in Newcastle or Maitland then call us today!


Melanoma is the third commonest invasive malignancy in Australia after breast and prostate cancer. Checking your skin can help you find melanoma early when it is highly treatable. Consult your doctor if you ever think you have a concerning skin lesion. Examine your body for early signs of melanoma. Melanoma can affect you anywhere on your skin – from your scalp, hands to the bottom of your feet. Even if the area gets only a little sun, it is possible for melanoma to develop there. The highest reported rates of cutaneous melanoma in the world are in Australia and New Zealand. Melanoma can occur in adults of any age but is very rare in children.

Elixir @ Hunter is a purpose-built skin cancer clinic Maitland. Book your consultation today!

The main risk factors for developing the most common type of melanoma (superficial spreading melanoma) include:

  • Increasing age
  • Past history of Melanoma
  • Past history of Non Melanoma skin cancers
  • Many moles
  • Multiple (>5) abnormal moles (histologically dysplastic moles)
  • A strong family history of melanoma with 2 or more first-degree relatives affected
  • White/fair skin that burns easily
Invasive Melanoma
Invasive Melanoma







Melanoma-in-situ arising in a Mole
Melanoma-in-situ arising in a Mole








How to check your own skin?

1. A full-length mirror

Looking into a full-length mirror helps check your back and sides.

2. Underarms, forearms, and palms

Bend your elbows and look carefully at your forearms, underarms, and your palms.

3. Legs, toes and soles of your feet

Look at the backs of your legs, feet, the spaces between your toes, and the soles of your feet.

4. A hand mirror can help you check your neck, scalp, back and buttocks

A small mirror can be handy to check your own back, buttocks and the back of your neck.

The ‘ABCDE’ approach to recognising an early melanoma

Remember the ABCDE when looking at each of your skin lesions.

A – Asymmetry

Melanomas are often neither circular nor oval in shape. If you draw a line through the middle of the lesion, the two halves do not match. This irregular shape is described as asymmetry.

B – Border

Melanoma borders tend to be uneven and may have scalloped or notched edges. Sometimes the edge of a melanoma is abrupt next to normal skin. At other times, the melanoma may merge into skin. These two border features can happen in different parts of the same melanoma.

C – Colour

Multiple colours are a warning sign. While benign moles are usually a single shade of brown, a melanoma may have different shades of brown, tan or black. As it grows, the colours red, white, or even blue may also appear. The more colours in the skin lesion, the more concerning it is.

D – Diameter

It is a warning sign if a skin lesion is 6 mm in diameter or greater. Most harmless skin lesions are quite small.

E – Evolution

Has your skin lesion changed over several months? This is a concerning feature. Harmless skin lesions often remain the same year after year. Inflamed skin lesions often change over days or weeks rather than over months.

Doctors generally do not use the ABCDE system

They usually examine your skin lesions with a dermatoscope. This is an instrument with magnification and a light source that reduces surface reflection. The doctor can detect the structure of the skin lesion under the surface, and use their knowledge and clinical skills to diagnose skin lesions suspicious for melanoma. The suspicious skin lesion will need removal or an excision biopsy. Alternatively, the dermatoscope may assist your doctor to determine the skin lesion is not concerning. The ABCDE system is just a guide, and it is not foolproof. A melanoma can be smaller than 5 mm in diameter. A melanoma can be circular and only have one colour.

Dysplatic Naevi or Moles

A dysplastic melanocytic nevus is a mole with some structural abnormality. These dysplastic nevi are not skin cancers but patients with multiple dysplastic naevi are at a significant risk of developing melanoma.

Dysplastic moles look like very dark or black moles. They often have a strange irregular shape, are usually smooth to touch, and may rise gently off the skin. They are seen in people of every age. Other features may be ill defined or blurred borders, Irregular margin resulting in an unusual shape, varying shades of colour (mostly pink, tan, brown, black)

Dysplastic naevus syndrome is a condition where a patient has 5 or more dysplastic melanocytic naevi. These people are at substantial risk of developing a melanoma.

Patients with Dysplastic Naevus syndrome are at high risk of melanoma and so, It is therefore essential that extreme measures are taken to avoid sun damage. Of those people with dysplastic nevi who later develop melanoma, more grow from normal looking skin than from existing Dysplastic moles. As such, simply removing lots of dysplastic moles is not the answer. These patients need regular and careful skin checks to check for any changes. During skin checks, the doctor can take photographs of moles (with or without the dermatoscope) and any suspicious dysplastic moles and can then be followed up for any changes. The close-up photographs with dermatoscopic views should be repeated from time to time, so change can be detected early and its significance determined. Follow up is the key to managing dysplastic moles. If in doubt, a suspicious or changing atypical nevus should be removed for an excision biopsy. Partial biopsy is best avoided, as the test may miss a small focus of melanoma. People diagnosed with atypical naevi should be taught how to self examine their skin for new skin lesions and for changes to existing moles that may indicate the development of melanoma. People with numerous moles should have a thorough full body skin check 6-12 monthly.

Elixir @ Hunter offers skin & mole check in Newcaste, Maitland, Hunter Valley area.


22/11/2021 BlogSkin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world, but unlike other cancers, you can see it, so you can do something about it.

Learning about how to detect early signs of skin cancer can make a lot of difference in reducing a patient’s morbidity and mortality from the skin cancers. When caught and treated early, skin cancers are highly curable. And in the early stages of skin cancer development, you’re the one with the best chance to see changes. That’s why we recommend that you examine your skin head-to-toe every 3-4 months. It’s a simple but powerful way to look at yourself with a new focus that can save you.

The risk of skin cancers depends on a number of factors including inheritance, Fitzpatrick skin type, history of unprotected sun exposure in the first 20 years of life, your occupation and hobbies.

Early skin cancer detection

Elderly patients: Some elderly patients who spent their childhood and earning age outdoors when there was no awareness of sun damage, usually get a lot of skin cancers and it is advised  to have their skin checked professionally every 3-4 monthly and self checkup every month.

Past history: Patients with a past history of melanoma or dysplastic nevus syndrome are recommended to have a professional skin checkup every 6 months and self checkup every 1-2 months.

General people: For the rest of the patients, it’s okay to have a skin checkup once a year or once every 2 years provided they do their own checkup every 3-4 months.

The common types of skin cancers include Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) and Melanoma.

Elixir @ Hunter is a skin cancer clinic in Maitland, NSW. Book your consultation today!

How to do your own skin checkup

It’s also important to remember that technology can be a powerful aid when checking your skin. If you can have a loved one take photos of suspicious spots, it can help your physician track any changes when you head in for your skin exam.

If you see something NEW, CHANGING or UNUSUAL, get it checked with a skin cancer doctor right away. It could be skin cancer. Regarding the changing skin lesions, if you see a change appearing overnight or in the last couple of days, it is usually inflammatory and should subside within a week. In case the changes continue over 2-3 weeks, it’s better to consult a skin cancer doctor.

This includes:

  • A growth that increases in size and appears pearly, transparent, tan, brown, black, or multicoloured.
  • A mole, birthmark or brown spot that increases in size, thickness, changes colour or texture, or is bigger than a pencil eraser.
  • A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab or bleed.
  • An open sore that does not heal within three weeks.
  • Look for anything new, changing or unusual on both sun-exposed and sun-protected areas of the body. Melanomas commonly appear on the legs of women, and the number one place they develop on men is the trunk. Keep in mind, though, that melanomas can arise anywhere on the skin, even in areas where the sun doesn’t shine.
  • Look for ABCDE signs of melanoma – ABCDE stands for asymmetry, border, colour, diameter and evolving. These are the characteristics of skin damage that doctors look for when diagnosing and classifying melanomas.

A is for Asymmetry. Most melanomas are asymmetrical. If you draw a line through the middle of the lesion, the two halves don’t match, so it looks different from a round to oval and symmetrical common mole.

B is for Border. Melanoma borders tend to be uneven and may have scalloped or notched edges, while common moles tend to have smoother, more even borders.

C is for Colour. Multiple colours are a warning sign. While benign moles are usually a single shade of brown, a melanoma may have different shades of brown, tan or black. As it grows, the colours red, white or blue may also appear.

D is for Diameter or Dark. While it’s ideal to detect a melanoma when it is small, it’s a warning sign if a lesion is the size of a pencil eraser (about 6 mm, or ¼ inch in diameter) or larger. Rare, there are amelanotic melanomas which are skin coloured or very light or colorless.

E is for Evolving. Any change in size, shape, colour or elevation of a spot on your skin, or any new symptom in it, such as bleeding, itching or crusting, may be a warning sign of melanoma.

Steps to examine yourself in front of a mirror.

  1. Examine your face Especially your nose, lips, mouth and ears — front and back.
  2. Inspect your scalp Thoroughly inspect your scalp, using a blow-dryer and mirror to expose each section to view. Get a friend or family member to help, if you can.
  3. Check your upper limbs Palms and backs, between the fingers and under the fingernails. Continue up the wrists to examine both the front and back of your forearms. Check the elbows and scan all sides of your upper arms.
  4. Inspect your torso Next, focus on the neck, chest and torso. Lift the breasts to view the undersides
  5. Scan your back With your back to the full-length mirror, use the hand mirror to inspect the back of your neck, shoulders, upper back. Scan your lower back, buttocks and backs of both legs
  6. Inspect your legs Sit down; prop each leg in turn on the other stool or chair. Use the hand mirror to examine the genitals. Check the front and sides of both legs, thigh to shin. Then, finish with ankles and feet, including soles, toes and nails.

If you are looking for a skin cancer clinic in Newcastle or Maitland then call Elixir @ Hunter today! Visit our skin cancer treatment cost page to learn more about pricing.

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