Have you noticed any changes in your skin since the start of the summer? Maybe some new freckles, brown spots, or just a few new signs of aging? These can all be symptoms from our lovely friend the Sun. No matter how many precautions we take or how sun-safewe are UV-rays can still affect us in ways we don’t even realize.
It is just as important to receive a yearly skin check with your dermatologist as it is for you to get a routine physical. After months of fun in the sun, vacations and play it’s a perfect time to get your yearly check. Your risk of getting skin cancer is real. Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Just like other cancers, you can learn to spot signs and detect problems from home. SkinCancer.orghas great information for helping you self-evaluate your body before your check up, and to detect any changes during the year as prevention. The best tool is to be educated-know your body and how your skin appears, note any changes, itchy spots or anything irregular and let your dermatologist know.
There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are less serious types and make up 95% of all skin cancers. Also referred to as non-melanoma skin cancers, they are highly curable when treated early. Melanoma, made up of abnormal skin pigment cells called melanocytes, is the most serious form of skin cancer and causes 75% of all skin cancer deaths. Left untreated, it can spread to other organs and is difficult to control. *Courtesy of http://www.medicinenet.com
Aside from skin cancer, which is the number one risk, over-exposure to the sun builds up over time causing wrinkles, brown spots and leathery skin. Visiting your dermatologist doesn’t only help to prevent skin cancer, but it can also help to eliminate signs from past sun damage. The beauty of it all is whenever you start taking the correct precautions against the sun you can actually reverse the effects, or at least some of them (not to mention stop any additional damage)!
If you have spent a little too much time unprotected in the sun start
eliminating those weary signs with some simple tips at home:
1- Exfoliate: Everyone’s skin is different and should exfoliate accordingly follow your dermatologist’s recommendations and slough off your damaged and dead skin cells safely and efficiently.
2- Moisturize: Even oily skin needs to stay hydrated, find the right moisturizer for use and use it correctly. This will help even skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and leathery texture.
3- Wear sunscreen year round and daily: SPF 45 or higher is recommended, luckily most moisturizers and foundations have SPF in them now!
4- Use a topical Antioxidant Cream: Use of a good topical cream can renew your skin’s neutral balance, look for ones rich in vitamin C and collagen to replenish your skin’s natural elasticity.
Depending on the severity of the damage and your own personal experience other treatments can be used such as in office microdermabrasion, chemical peels or skin resurfacing. Germain Dermatology offers an entire line of products geared toward sun damage, as well as anti-aging. Come by the office or visit us online anytime to learn about the products or to make an appointment for your yearly check-up.
Be educated. Use precaution. Get your yearly skin check.
First time seeing a Dermatologist? Know what to expect!
When you see a dermatologist for a complete skin checkup, expect a 10-15-minute visit, including a review of your medical history and a head-to-toe skin examination. This is a good time to ask about any spots you are worried about; your dermatologist can educate you about what to look for, such as any changes in the size, color, borders, or shape of a mole. Typically, a spot that the doctor suspects is cancerous will be biopsied. During a biopsy, a sliver of tissue is removed for evaluation by a pathologist, who confirms (or refutes) the dermatologist’s suspicions.
*Courtesy of SkinCancer.org