Skin Cancer: The 4 Biggest Misconceptions
In our last article, we covered a brief introduction to skin cancer. Before we get into detailed information about symptoms, treatment and prognosis, it’s important to dispel some common myths about skin cancer and what it means to protect your skin.
Following are the four biggest misconceptions about skin cancer:
1. You only need to visit a dermatologist once a year
Most people are under the impression that a yearly visit (if at all) to the dermatologist for a mole check is all you really need to stay on top of things and be pre-warned about any possible cancer signs. However, while this may be true for some lucky people, the truth is that if you’re fair skinned, have suffered sever sun burns in the past and/or have a family history of melanoma, you’re at a much higher risk for skin cancer and you should see a dermatologist at least twice a year. You should always have your skin profiled by a qualified medical expert to better understand your particular skin type, its vulnerability to certain risks and the ways you can protect it.
2. Sunscreen should be applied when you get to the beach
Most of us put the sunscreens in our bags and purses before heading out and only lather them on when we finally hit the beach. However, such a short notice is not enough for the sunscreen to do its work. Sunscreens take around an hour to absorb into your skin so you should always apply them well in time. And since you’re exposed to sunlight as soon as you head outside- and not the moment you step on the sand- you shouldn’t wait to be fully exposed to the sun before applying sunscreen.
3. Base tans are harmless
Tanning is essentially skin damage so the mentality that base tans protect you from burns and skin damage is a total myth. The base tan basically involves you dipping yourself into harmful UVA/UVB rays two times over. Skin damage is inevitable and no amount of self-assurances is going to change that!
4. Dark skinned people don’t need to worry
Fair skinned people have historically been at higher risk for skin cancer but dark skinned people aren’t safe either. Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate on the basis of skin color and you could get it even if you have dark skin and have never had bad sun burns. In fact, skin cancers are more difficult to detect in darker skins because the signs are not as easily recognizable as they are with fair skins.
Visit MedHelp clinic today for more skin advice.
Skin Cancer: The What and Why
Did you know that melanoma (a skin cancer) is the second most common type of cancer in women aged 20 to 29? Or that it takes the life of a person every hour? If you didn’t already, these alarming statistics should provide you with enough reason to find out more about skin cancer and what you can do to protect yourself.
What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer develops as a result of damaged DNA (a molecule found in cells that encode genetic information), in skin cells, that continues to grow and divide because the body is unable to repair or heal the damage. Because skin cancer usually develops in the outermost layers of the skin (the epidermis), it is detectable in its early stages. However, most people keep ignoring the signs until the cancer becomes a painful problem.
What are the types of skin cancers?
Almost 100% of skin cancers are attributed for by three major types. The three cancers are named after the different types of cells they begin from. Skin cancers are classified as melanoma and non-melanoma cancers. Melanoma is life-threatening.
Following are the three types of cancers:
- Melanoma: Melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer and accounts for over 4% of all skin cancers. It begins in the melanocytes cells in the skin but quickly spreads to the internal organs. New or changing moles are often the tell-tale signs of melanoma which is why it’s important for you to know your existing benign moles very well.
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): 200,000 of diagnosed skin cancers (about 16% of the total) are Squamous cell carcinoma. This cancer begins in the squamous cells (present in the upper layer of the epidermis) and mostly occurs as a result of long term exposure to the sun. Symptoms include crusted or scaly area of the skin that has a pink base.
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC): Accounting for 80% of diagnosed skin cancers (nearly 1 million cases in the US alone) the Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It starts from the basal cells located in the lowest layer of the epidermis and can appear as a nodule, a sore, a growth, irritated/reddish patches and even as a waxy scar on the skin.
Because skin cancers can result in very varied symptoms- and surface in parts of your body where you would least expect them- it’s important for you to visit a dermatologist every six months- especially if you have a family history of skin cancer.
Summer Skincare: 10 Ways to Protect Your Skin (Continued)
To kick off our Summer Skincare series, we started counting down the 10 ways you can protect your skin from the summer heat and harmful sun rays. If you are just tuning in, you can read tips 1 through 5 here. And now without further ado, here are 5 more effective ways to reduce skin damage during the Summer:
6. IMPROVE YOUR DIET
Healthy, beautiful and glowing skin requires you to eat well. A diet rich in antioxidants, melons, egg whites, leafy vegetables and blueberries can work on your skin from the inside out and keep it looking fresh, youthful and healthy.
7. USE LESS MAKEUP
Make your make-up routine as simple as possible so that it doesn’t become a mess in the hot weather and you can freshen it up with just a little touch up. Concealer, mascara, lip gloss and a natural blush is all you really need!
8. BE CAREFUL WITH SHAVING
Your legs probably remained covered throughout the Winter but now it’s time to show them off again. And since you’ll be spending a lot of your time at the beach or at a pool party, the bikini lines will need to be immaculate. Just make sure that you change your razors every week to avoid irritation and razor burn. A lasting alternative like waxing could save you time, effort and unsightly red blemishes!
9. USE A LOTION
Gels and purees are fast absorbing lotions that can help retain your body’s moisture and give you a refreshing summer glow. Lotions that come with light fruity scents are perfect for the Summer!
10. KNOW YOUR SKIN
Whether you’re highly photosensitive or not, excessive sun exposure is the leading cause of premature aging. In addition to damage caused by the Sun during the Summer, your skin could also be vulnerable to a range of unpleasant conditions and even skin cancer. And then we all have our persisting skin problems- acne, pimples or a genetic tendency for moles. Whatever your particular skin issue is, it’s always best to be prepared for it. By understanding your particular skin type, you will be able to buy the right products for yourself and know exactly what you need to do to keep your skin looking healthy and beautiful. Visit us at MedHelp clinic for diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions and high quality medical advice for protecting your skin year round.
Summer Skincare: 10 Ways to Protect Your Skin
Summer’s here and it’s time to hit the beach, kick back and splash around in the water. However, while the next few months are sure to be a lot of fun, the scorching heat and sun exposure can wreak havoc on your skin. That’s why it’s important for you to protect your skin and take very good care of it. Here are 10 ways in which you can make sure that your skin remains healthy, glowing and undamaged during the hot weather:
1. AVOID UNNECESSARY EXPOSURE TO THE SUN
There’s no need to avoid sunlight altogether but the fact remains that harmful sun rays are the leading cause of skin damage. The best way to reduce harmful effects of sunlight is to stay indoors whenever you can. The less you expose your skin to the sun, the less is the chance of skin damage. This is especially important for you if your skin is highly photosensitive.
2. USE SUNSCREEN
Dermatologists always say that they can’t emphasize enough how important it is to use a good sunscreen whenever you’re going out. Whether you’re getting ready to spend a whole day at the beach, or just going out for a quick trip to the store, you should always apply sunscreen beforehand (and at least 15 minutes before you head outside). Your sunscreen should be a permanent item in your purse so that you can apply a fresh coat if you’re out too long. A good rule of thumb is to apply sunscreen again after every 90 minutes. Be sure to re-apply after a swim as even water-resistant sunscreens can be wiped off when using a towel to dry off.
Protect your skin from looking dry and washed up by using a good moisturizer. A 2-in-1 product that contains both moisturizer and sunscreen works great but don’t be wary of using multiple products if you have to. Moisturizer and sunscreen are your must-have products for the Summer.
4. STAY HYDRATED
Water is your skin’s best treatment. You should always drink a lot of it to keep your skin healthy and glowing year round but it’s especially important in the Summer. Because of the hot weather, you will dehydrate more quickly and your skin will become dry and parched. Always carry a bottle of mineral water with you and make sure your intake of fluids remains high.
Our body sheds off dead skin cells every day and unless you do a full body exfoliating wash, you will always have the dead skin covering your beautiful, glowing skin. Get a body scrub and a facial exfoliator, and exfoliate a few times every week.
Check out the remaining tips in our Summer Skincare series in our next post.