Skin Tip: Sunscreen Facts!

Happy Friday everyone!  May 27 is National Sunscreen Day and courtesy of The Dow Chemical Company, here is an infographic on what you need to know about sunscreen.

National Sunscreen Day

Enjoy your weekend! 

Stephanie

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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.

Sunscreen 101!

Sunscreen 2

Different seasons bring a host of new trends in the beauty industry- think pastel washes of color, orange lipstick, the coveted au naturale look- but what’s one trend we should implement and follow all year-round?

Sunscreen!

Whether you are male or female, have a skincare regimen in place or not, sunscreen should be a staple product in your arsenal.  The immense danger of exposure to UV radiation is skin cancer, however skin cancer is almost entirely preventable if you choose the right sunscreen and apply with slavish devotion.  The sun is also a main culprit in the causes of wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and saggy skin-even going out for a quick walk or running an errand in your car exposes you to the sun’s damaging rays!

While there is a plethora of sunscreens to choose from, you don’t have to spend a fortune to protect yourself.  Here is a brief insight into sunscreen.

Broad-spectrum

Make sure that your sunscreen offers broad-spectrum coverage, which will protect you from UVA and UVB rays.  UVA rays cause premature aging and UVB rays are known as the tanning and burning rays; both cause cancer.

Sun Protection Factor

The term “SPF” is the abbreviation for a product’s Sun Protection Factor.  The level of protection is not proportionate with SPF rating, meaning a higher SPF doesn’t mean more protection.  In fact, an SPF of 15 provides protection from 93% of the sun’s rays, SPF 30 protects from 97% of the sun’s rays and an SPF 60 protects 98%.  No sunscreen can block 100% of the sun’s rays and it is important to reapply every 2 hours during outdoor activities, sweating or swimming.

Types: Physical and Chemical

Physical sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin and reflect or scatter UV radiation before it can reach the epidermis. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide compose this category.

Zinc oxide is a great option for those who have sensitive skin or rosacea.

Chemical sunscreens have a strong ability to effectively absorb UVB radiation before they can damage the skin. Look for:  Octisalate, Oxybenzone, Homosalate, Octyldimethly PABA (Padimate O), Octocrylene, Octinoxate, Avobenzone (Parasol 1789), and/or Ecamsule (Mexoryl).

Bonus: Antioxidants

Sunscreens formulated with antioxidants can further protect against harmful UV rays and damaging free radicals.

Caffeine, silymarin (from milk thistle), genistein ( a soy isoflavone), epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), resveratrol, and vitamin C (ascorbic acid)  are examples of common added antioxidants.

Application

According to the FDA, the correct amount of product to use is a teaspoon for the face and a shot glass for the body. Apply 30 minutes before sun exposure.  Remember, constant reapplication is key, even with sweat and water resistant sunscreens!  Also, avoiding prime sun hours (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) if you can, and covering up with shades and a hat helps.

Overall

Physical sunscreens are typically a good option for sensitive skin types and offer UVA and UVB protection.  Chemical sunscreens offer adequate protection from UVB rays but frequently don’t offer favorable protection against UVA rays. Blended sunscreens (physical and chemical) with the addition of antioxidants are ideal, however the type of sunscreen that will work best depends on your skin and how it reacts. Sometimes, it takes a couple of trial and error sessions to figure out what the best formulation is for you.

I hope you found this post helpful.

Feel free to comment or ask a question!