May is National Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month. This is a perfect time to commit to taking care of your skin and giving it the protection it deserves!
Skin cancer is primarily a lifestyle disease, meaning it is preventable. If you do have skin cancer, if caught early, it is the most curable cancer.
~ There are 3 types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Basal cell is the most common form of skin cancer. It is usually very slow to grow and it rarely spreads. Squamous Cell is the second most common form of skin cancer. It grows faster than basal cell, but usually it still a slow-growing cancer. Squamous cell may spread. Melanoma is the fastest growing form of skin cancer. It is also the most lethal because it will spread to other tissues and organs.
~ Skin cancer accounts for 50% of all types of cancer combined.
~ 90% of non-melanoma skin cancer is caused by excessive sun exposure, this does include tanning beds
~ Melanoma cases equal to about 4% of all skin cancer diagnoses. 2/3 of all melanoma cases are due to excessive sun exposure.
~ You are twice as likely to get skin cancer if you have had a bad burn by the age of 15.
~ Shadow Rule - if your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun is at its strongest and you are likely to burn.
What are the symptoms?
~ A small lump, spot, or mole that is shiny, waxy, pale in color, and and smooth in texture.
~ A red lump that is firm.
~ A sore or spot that bleeds or becomes crusty.
~ Sores that do not heal.
~ Rough, scaly patches.
~ Flat, scaly areas that are red or brown.
~ Any suspicious new growth.
If you have any of these symptoms, go to the doctor. As I have said, early detection is the key!
It is also a good idea to go to the doctor once a year to get checked out.
~ Sunscreen is a must, every single day for everyone, no matter your age or skin color...no exceptions...even if you stay indoors all day. UV Rays can and will come through your home and car windows.
~ For those of you who are sensitive or allergic to sunscreens, in most cases, you are sensitive to a chemical in the sunscreen. Try a purely physical sunscreen, such as SkinCeuticals Physical Sunscreen.
~ How much sunscreen should you use? A nice thick line from the first knuckle of your middle finger to the tip. If you have short hair, do not forget your ears and the back of your neck. I also like to put it all over my neck, decollete, and the backs of my hands...so you will need a extra for those areas.
~ SPF in your makeup is not enough!! You do not wear enough makeup and it will fade off and rub off on your phone and hands.
~ I prefer sunscreens with zinc oxide or at least titanium dioxide. These are physical ingredients that will reflect or in some cases scatter the rays, versus absorb them like a chemical sunscreen will. A lot of sunscreens now have the technology to do a more transparent form of zinc oxide. It isn't the same as is the 80's and 90's where we would coat our noses with a thick, white layer of zinc!
~ I also prefer sunscreens with an SPF of 30 to 45, anything more will not give you that much more time in the sun without reapplying. If you are out in the sun for long periods of time, reapply every 2 hours or every time you come out of the water.
~ Use an antioxidant before your sunscreen, this will be your second line of defense against the environment...sunscreen is your first.
~ My personal favorites are SkinCeuticals C&E Ferulic for my antioxidant and SkinCeuticals Physical or Ultimate Defense Sunscreen. I also love the Sport if I am outside for long periods of time!