What You Need to Know About Sunburns!

Days spent at the beach or by the pool is one reason we love summer but sometimes this enjoyment renders one caveat: leaving us lobster hued.  Sunburns can be painful and in some cases be accompanied by blisters.  Note:  If you have blisters and severe swelling, seek medical attention immediately.

But once your sunburn heals and the peeling has stopped, all is good right?  Not really.  Sunburns can double your chance of developing melanoma later in life but it may take several years for the damage to show up.

What is a Sunburn? 

Simply put, your skin turning red is an indication that your skin has been severely damaged due to extreme UV exposure causing blood vessels to dilate.  The skin starts to lose moisture and hydration causing a feeling of tightness. Although our body can cope with minimal amounts of sun damage, the danger happens when our DNA becomes damaged and its repair process is compromised, which can lead to skin cancer.

Tips for Sunburn Relief 

Application

Application and reapplication of sunscreen is crucial.  Ensure you are applying enough- a teaspoon for the face and one ounce shot-glass size for the body- and reapply about every two hours.

Hydration

Your body is overheated so it’s important to drink a lot of water.

Skim Milk Cold Compress

A cold compress or cloths soaked in skim milk can relieve pain-skim milk is the preferred choice because it does not have any fat content. The protein found in milk binds to the burned skin to soothe the pain.

OTC Remedies

Aspirin or ibuprofen can slow down the inflammatory reaction.

Application of a 1% hydrocortisone cream may help with sunburn pain and swelling.

Simple DIY Remedy

Plain cold yogurt can be used on sunburned areas.  Leave on for 10-20 minutes, then rinse off.

Final Say

Until your skin heals, stay away from the sun, heat, friction and excessive exercise and do not pick at loose skin-it can scar!  Avoid exfoliating and keep your skincare regimen simple.  The key is to soothe and calm inflammation.

How do you treat a sunburn? 

Stephanie 

Disclaimer: The contents on this website, and any related links, are provided for general informational purposes and should NOT be considered medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here. Please consult a healthcare provider if you have any questions about a particular health condition.

Skin Tip: The ABCs of Skin Cancer!

With May being skin cancer awareness month, use the guidelines below to know what to look for.

Asymmetry  If you draw a line through this mole, the two halves will not match.

Border The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven, irregular, scalloped or notched.

Color  Coloring varies from one area to another- different shades if brown, tan, or black- and it can become red, blue or some other color.

Diameter  Melanomas are usually larger than the size of the eraser on your pencil ( ¼ inch or 6mm) but they can be smaller when first detected.

Evolution  Any changes in size, shape, color, elevation or new symptoms such as bleeding itching or crusting.

Always remember, when in doubt, have it checked out!

Stephanie 

Disclaimer: The contents on this website, and any related links, are provided for general informational purposes and should NOT be considered medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here. Please consult a healthcare provider if you have any questions about a particular health condition.

How Well Do You Know Your ABCs?

may

May is Skin Cancer Awareness month.  According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States…[and] over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.”   Since Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) is responsible for 90% of all skin cancers, taking preventative measures decreases your risk factor for this potentially deadly disease.  Here’s what skin cancer is, the different types, what to look out for and guidelines to prevent it.

About Skin Cancer

Skin cancer happens when DNA becomes irreversibly damaged, giving way to the growth of abnormal skin cells that are capable of invading and destroying surrounding normal skin cells and tissues. When the damaged cells multiply, a visible tumor is typically formed.

The difference between a benign tumor and a malignant tumor is that benign tumors are non cancerous, they won’t usually grow back when removed, and the cells do not invade the surrounding tissue, whereas malignant tumors are cancerous,  can grow back after they have been removed, and they invade tissues, organs and metastasize (invades surrounding tissue).

Types of Skin Cancer

melanoma

Melamoma

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer because of its ability to metastasize and spread to lymph nodes, blood, distant tissues and organ systems.  If it is detected and treated early, it is almost always curable, but if it’s left untreated, it can often be fatal.

bcc

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

This is the most common form of skin cancer in the U.S.  It can manifest itself like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps or scars, or a brown or black lesion that could be mistaken for a mole.  Considered to be the most benign form of skin cancer as it grows the slowest and is the least likely to metastasize, removal can lead to scarring or disfiguring.

scc

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

Squamous Cell Carcinoma chiefly affects the superficial layers of the epidermis (top layer of the skin).  This type of skin cancer is characterized by a red, rough or flaky appearance and causes the skin to thicken.  It is most common in areas frequently exposed to the sun, such as the rim of the ear, lower lip, face, bald scalp, neck, hands, arms and legs.  97% of SCC does not spread, however if metastasis occurs, scarring, disfigurement or death is probable.

ak

Actinic Keratosis (AK)

Actinic keratosis can be a precursor to skin cancer that if left untreated, can develop into SCCs.  The appearance of AK is rough and scaly, and they can be tan, red, pink or flesh-colored.  Studies have shown that 60% of squamous cell carcinomas began as actinic keratosis.

abcsc

ABCDEs of Melanoma

Asymmetry  If you draw a line through this mole, the two halves will not match.

Border The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven, irregular, scalloped or notched.

Color  Coloring varies from one area to another- different shades if brown, tan, or black- and it can become red, blue or some other color.

Diameter  Melanomas are usually larger than the size of the eraser on your pencil ( ¼ inch or 6mm) but they can be smaller when first detected.

Evolution  Any changes in size, shape, color, elevation or new symptoms such as bleeding itching or crusting.

prevention

Prevention Guidelines

  • Use broad spectrum sunscreen every day (SPF 15 or higher) and reapply every 2 hours or so, especially when outside
  • Seek shade, if possible, between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Do not burn
  • Avoid UV tanning and UV tanning booths
  • Wear protective clothing, hats and sunglasses
  • Conduct yearly exams with a dermatologist and self-exam

I hope this post was helpful and remember: when in doubt, have it checked out!  It’s better to be safe than putting your life in jeopardy.

 

Disclaimer: The contents on this website, and any related links, are provided for general informational purposes and should NOT be considered medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here. Please consult a healthcare provider if you have any questions about a particular health condition.