Tuesday, July 25, 2017

High Noon For Healthy Skin

June 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Hot Topic

Your skin is the largest organ of your body, basically your own personal bubble against the world. As such it holds everything in, (to a  lesser extent as we age admittedly! but its  also not a wall.  We forget sometimes that it is a semi permeable barrier.  We pierce it, paint it but we should also remember that things we expose it too can cross the barrier!

There is more and more talk of chemicals we use daily being absorbed by our dermal layer and the damage they do.  Even more worrying though are the stats on Skin Cancer and in particular Melanoma.

Melanoma is a real risk for everyone.  One person dies every hour from Melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) and 1 in 5 Americans are affected by skin cancer (Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma are the most common types) according to estimates from the American Academy of Dermatology.  The good news is Melanoma can have a 95% cure rate if detected early.

Detection Since skin cancer is the only cancer visible in its early stages, regular self examinations of suspicious spots offer the easiest tool for  identification.  Use the acronym ABCDE to identify the following warning signs:

A is for Asymmetry – where a mark or mole is not symmetrical.

B is for Border – where edges are scalloped, poorly defined or irregular.

C is for Color – where color varies from one side to the other including variations in shade. Colors can include tan, brown, black, white, red or blue.)

D is for Diameter – where the mole or mark is as big or bigger than a pencil eraser (6mm).

E is for Evolving – where you notice growth or changes in size or color.

Since its difficult to remember all of this information it is suggested that you keep a detailed record in the form of  a Body Mole Map http://ow.ly/1TOU7 , using this chart from the AAD.  The chart also give examples of how to assess moles and and a measuring tool.

Prevention

The best way to lower your risk of skin cancer is  to minimize exposure to UltraViolet light (from sun & tanning beds). Don’t forget incidental exposure through car windows, and while swimming  plus the increased dose of  the suns harmful rays you receive at higher altitudes.

When you are in the sun, manage your exposure by wearing broad brimmed hats, quality sunglasses (UVA & UVB protection), protective clothing (you can get burned through a light colored tee shirt) and sunscreens with SPF15 and higher.  It is also best to avoid or limit exposure between 10am and 4 pm.

If you really want to look tanned, Fake it!  There are plenty of products in creams, sprays and towel form which can give you a golden glow without turning you oompa loompa orange.  BUT remember while they give you a nice color they don’t provide any protection against the sun.

Remember only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

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