Tag Archives: skin cancer

Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Although Skin Cancer Awareness Month is coming to a close, the summer is just beginning, and that means many of us will be spending more time out in the sun.

The skin cancer rate in the U.S. has increased dramatically over the years, and according to the U.S. Surgeon General, it has become “a major public health problem.”  Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, but it is largely preventable.  Limiting exposure to the sun is a no-brainer, but making sure you use sunscreen correctly is key.  We ran across this article in Real Simple magazine about how the proper use of sunscreen can decrease your risk of getting skin cancer.

It’s a good idea to regularly examine your skin and become familiar with moles and freckles and watch them for changes.  And if you do notice that something looks different, make an appointment to see your dermatologist or plastic surgeon to have the suspicious place examined and removed if necessary.  So go and enjoy the beach or the lake or the pool, but be sure to take care of your skin.

Happy young woman applying sunscreen lotion

Can You Tan Safely?

sunscreen

 

“I look better with a tan.”

“Getting a little color can’t hurt.”

Summer is still in full swing, and we all spend a lot of time in the sun.  There are many things people say to justify a tan, but the truth is that sun damage is cumulative and can lead to premature aging of the skin and even skin cancer. Because UVA/UVB rays break down the collagen proteins in our skin, we develop wrinkles, lose volume and the skin begins to sag.

Too much exposure to the sun can also be dangerous.  UVA/UVB rays are a form of radiation which damage the DNA of skin cells.  When the DNA of keratinocytes is damaged, the result is a basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer.  When the DNA of melanocytes is damaged, you can develop melanoma.

If you want a “safe” tan, use self tanners or get a spray tan.  Just remember that self-tanners don’t provide any protection from the sun, so be sure you apply your sunscreen.

Sun Safety Tips for Your Skin

woman in springSpring has arrived, and let’s face it, most of us love the sun – it feels good and makes us happy. However, sun exposure causes many of the skin changes we’ve come to think as a normal part of aging.  Ultraviolet light damages skin’s elastin and the skin begins to sag and stretch.  We start to notice wrinkles, freckles, and discoloration.  And, of course, sun exposure is the number one cause of skin cancer – basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma.

As a plastic surgeon, I perform a lot of skin cancer surgeries and would like to give you some tips to help protect yourself from the sun.

Apply at least an SPF 30 sunscreen thirty minutes before going out in the sun.

Use cosmetic products that contain ans SPF

Wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with UV protection

Avoid direct sun exposure between 10 am and 2 pm (peak UV hours)

Avoid tanning beds

Perform skin exams regularly so you’re familiar with existing moles and notice any changes or new ones.

So whether you’ve got a vacation coming up or you’re simply planning on spending time in the sunshine at home, protect your skin and keep it healthy.