Medical Spa Blog
Posts for tag: Skin Protection
The sun emits harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can result in skin damage from freckles and cosmetic blemishes to more serious conditions like cancer. Sun damage doesn’t happen overnight, and the long-term effects of repeated sun exposure may not appear for years. It’s a gradual process brought on by repeated exposure to the sun’s harmful rays, which can have serious consequences later in life. But it's never too late to start protecting your skin from sun damage!
Signs of Sun Damaged Skin
Tans or sunburns are two visible signs of sun damage. A tan reveals that your skin has attempted to protect itself from sun damage by producing melanin, the brown pigment that colors the outer layer of skin. And sunburns indicate damaged skin cell DNA, which increases your risk for skin cancer.
The following signs indicate sun-damaged skin.
- Change in Texture - Skin may become dull and leathery as it is repeatedly exposed to the sun.
- Age Spots - As sun exposure increases so does the body’s production of melanin, which leads to the gradual appearance of blotches in skin tone and brown, black or gray spots on the face, chest, shoulders and hands.
- Wrinkles - As the sun depletes collagen and elastin, the substances that keep skin firm and flexible, skin sags and wrinkles appear which make you look older.
- Red or Inflamed Skin - Symptoms of sunburn such as heat, pain, redness or blisters indicate damage to the epidermis.
The best way to maintain a youthful appearance and avoid skin cancer is to make sun protection a part of daily life. Take extra precautions when outdoors. Always apply sunscreen and wear protective clothing, such as hats and sunglasses. Limit the amount of time you spend in direct sunlight and seek shade when possible. Tanning beds are just as harmful for your skin and should also be avoided.
When to Visit Your Dermatologist
Sun damage should not be overlooked. It may be time to visit your dermatologist about potential sun damage if you:
- Experience a severe sunburn with blistering or other serious side effects, or if you have a history of sunburns
- Notice changes to existing skin growths or develop new or irregular shaped moles or spots, as these could be indications that you have skin cancer
- Have sun spots on your skin, especially if they appear suddenly or are dark in color
- Have a family history of skin cancer
At a minimum, you should visit a dermatologist once a year to have your body inspected for moles or growths. A dermatologist will not only look for signs of cancer, but can also offer cosmetic treatments to reduce the visible signs of sun damage, such as wrinkles, fine lines and age spots.
Although it may only seem like a temporary irritation, a sunburn can cause long-lasting damage to the skin. Skin that is sunburned is red, tender and warm to the touch. Severely sunburned skin may even result in the formation of painful blisters.
Too much sun is especially dangerous for children. One severe sunburn during childhood may double a child’s lifetime risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
It may take up to 24 hours after sun exposure to recognize the severity of your burn. For mild burns, follow these tips to relieve discomfort:
- Avoid the sun. Spending additional time in the sun after you already have a sunburn will only worsen the negative effects and delay the healing process.
- Take a cool shower or bath to relieve any pain or discomfort. Apply a cool compress, like a damp cloth, to the skin to help reduce discomfort.
- Apply moisturizer or cream to soothe the skin. Aloe gel is a common household remedy for sunburns as it helps ease pain and inflammation.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. A sunburn draws fluid to the skin surface and away from the rest of the body.
- Take ant-inflammatory medications. Do this as directed by your doctor to help decrease the inflammation and reduce redness and pain.
- Do not pop any blisters. This will slow the healing process and increase the risk for infection.
In most cases a sunburn does not require medical attention. Call a doctor immediately if there are signs of heat exhaustion, dehydration, fever, severe blistering or other serious reactions.
Fortunately, sunburns are completely preventable. Remember to always wear sunscreen and limit overexposure to the sun by seeking shade and wearing appropriate clothes and accessories that cover the skin, such as hats and sunglasses.
Remember, prevention is better than cure, so remember to take extra precaution to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays!
We all want to achieve a healthy tan. It makes us look and feel better, but that bronzed glow may not be as healthy as you think. A tan is your skin’s reaction to ultraviolet (UV) light. This darkening of the skin cells is the skin's natural defense against further damage from UV radiation.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), nearly 28 million people tan in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens. Many people believe the UV rays of tanning beds are harmless, but this is far from true. Tanning beds emit UVA and usually UVB rays as well. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause long-term skin damage and premature aging (i.e. wrinkles, spots and sagging skin), and can contribute to skin cancer.
The AAD states that the risk of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer—is 75% higher among people who used tanning beds in their teens and 20s. Despite the known risks associated with indoor tanning these numbers continue to increase, as do the incidences of cancer.
Visit your dermatologist immediately if you detect any unusual changes in your skin’s appearance, such as:
- A change or an increase in the size or thickness of a mole or spot
- Change in color or texture of the mole
- Irregularity in the border of a mole
Protecting yourself from UV exposure is the best defense against premature aging and skin cancer. In addition to avoiding indoor tanning beds, you should also always wear sunscreen outdoors to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Remember to self-examine your own skin as well as have your skin checked regularly by your dermatologist.
Whether you acquire your tan from the beach or a lamp, it’s not safe and it’s not healthy. If you’re a regular tanner, it may be time to rethink your current stance on the standards of beauty. There are safe alternatives to a bronzed glow without risking your health.
Skin cancer is one the most common of all cancer types, which occurs when malignant cells are found in the outer layers of your skin. More than 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the United States. Although the incidence of skin cancer continues to rise, most cases could be prevented by limiting the skin's exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
Skin cancers fall into two major categories: melanoma and non-melanoma.
- Basal cell carcinoma is rarely fatal and most commonly appears after the age of 40 in the form of lesions on the head or neck area, which may increase in size or bleed easily.
- Squamous cell carcinoma generally develops in people over 50 with sun-damaged skin. This is the most common form of non-melanoma cancer. These growths appear as flat and red, becoming raised, scaly patches.
- Melanoma is the most severe form of skin cancer, often occurring on the back in men and the legs in women. Risk increases with age, and the average age of detection is between 45-50 years old. It usually appears as a dark flat or raised area on the skin, and is often irregular in shape. Left untreated, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body.
First step: prevention
The good news is that with early detection and treatment, non-melanoma cancers can be cured in over 99% of the cases, and melanoma is readily detectable and usually curable if treated early.
To start protecting your skin, limit sun exposure by seeking shade and always wearing sunscreen, even during the winter months. When possible, wear hats and sunglasses to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. UV exposure is one of the biggest contributors to skin cancer, which includes tanning booths. People with fair skin, several moles or freckles, or a family history of skin cancer are also at an increased risk for developing skin cancers.
Early detection and self-exams can save your life
Many types of skin cancer grow slowly, while some melanomas can appear very quickly. Detected in its early stages, skin cancer is very treatable. Use a mirror to examine unreachable parts of your body or ask a family member or friend to assist you. Check your moles regularly for any changes in appearance or sensitivity.
Skin cancer may be one of the most common types of cancer, but it is also one of the most preventable and curable. Take steps now to protect your skin, and visit your dermatologist for regular exams and to have any unusual findings checked.
There is a wide variety of sunscreens available, including lotions, sprays, creams, gels, wipes, and lip balms, to name a few. These topical products absorb or reflect some, but not all, of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation on the skin to help protect against sun damage. But which one is right for you? Our practice can help you find the best sunscreen for your needs and lifestyle.
SPF - what's in a number?
SPF (Sun Protection Factor) provides an indication of how effectively a sunscreen can protect your skin from the ultraviolet-B (UVB) light - the rays that cause sunburn and skin cancer. A higher SPF number represents a higher level of protection. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreen products with a sun protection factor of at least 30.
Today, sunscreens with SPFs as high as 100 are available, but a higher number doesn't necessarily mean more protection. For instance, many people believe a sunscreen with SPF 45 would give 3 times as much protection as one with an SPF of 15. This is not true. SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97%. SPF 50 sunscreens filter approximately 98% while SPF 100 provides 99%. The higher you go, the smaller the difference becomes. No sunscreen can provide complete protection.
Apply Sunscreen Properly
Regardless of the SPF rating, sunscreen should be reapplied often for optimal protection. A majority of people do not apply a layer of sunscreen thickly, so the actual protection they get is less. For best results, most sunscreens must be reapplied at least every two hours, more often if you are swimming or sweating. Apply sunscreen generously, paying close attention to face, ears, arms, neck and all other areas exposed to the sun. Sunscreens do expire, so always check the expiration date to make sure it is still effective.