Posts for: February, 2018
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Fortunately, it rarely develops without warning, and the number of fatalities caused by melanoma could be greatly reduced if people were aware of the early signs and took time to examine their skin. With early diagnosis and treatment, your chance of recovery from melanoma is very good.
What Causes Melanoma?
The main cause of melanoma is too much skin exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV rays from the sun and tanning booths can damage skin cells, causing the cells to grow abnormally. The best way to prevent melanoma is to reduce the amount of time you spend in the sun, wearing hats and protective clothing when possible and generously applying sunscreen.
Melanoma can occur anywhere on the body, including the soles of your feet or your fingernails. In women, melanoma is most often seen on the lower legs, and in men, it most commonly forms on the upper back.
Anyone can get melanoma, but people with the following traits are at a higher risk:
- Fair skin
- Excessive sun exposure during childhood
- Family history of melanoma
- More than 50 moles on the skin
- Several freckles
- Sun-sensitive skin that rarely tans or burns easily
Melanoma can appear suddenly as a new mole, or it can grow slowly, near or in an existing mole. The most common early signs of melanoma are:
- An open sore that repeatedly heals and re-opens
- A mole or growth that takes on an uneven shape, grows larger or changes in color or texture
- An existing mole that continues to bleed, itch, hurt, scab or fade
Because melanoma can spread quickly to other parts of the body, it is important to find melanoma as early as possible. The best way to detect changes in your moles and skin markings is by doing self-examinations regularly. If you find suspicious moles, have them checked by your dermatologist.
Visiting your dermatologist for a routine exam is also important. During this skin cancer "screening," your dermatologist will discuss your medical history and inspect your skin from head to toe, recording the location, size and color of any moles. Melanoma may be the most serious form of skin cancer, but it is also very curable when detected early.
The telltale signs of aging skin—wrinkles, puffy eyes, age spots—may start to appear as we grow older. We can’t fight the aging process, but we can take steps now to help reduce and prevent wrinkles from appearing prematurely.
Many factors can contribute to the onset of wrinkles, which are frequently produced by years of unprotected sun exposure in combination with each person’s unique genetic predisposition. Wrinkles are a by-product of the aging process. As we age, our skin loses its elasticity, is less capable of retaining moisture and is slower to heal. All of these contribute to the development of wrinkles and sagging skin.
How Can I Slow the Progression of Wrinkles?
Daily skincare and proper sun protection are important factors in slowing the aging process, diminishing fine lines and minimizing wrinkles.
- Take your vitamins. Many vitamins are good for the skin. Vitamin C, a natural antioxidant found in citrus fruits and dark green leafy vegetables, can help reduce the appearance of sun damage.
- Apply sunscreen. Protecting yourself from sun exposure can help prevent the progression of fine lines. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 to protect against harmful UV rays.
- Moisturize. Dry skin causes the skin to look dull and aged. To prevent dry skin, apply moisturizer every day.
- Get your beauty sleep. When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, it produces excess cortisol, a hormone that breaks down skin cells. Keep your skin looking and feeling young by getting at least seven hours of sleep every night.
- Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds emit harmful UVA rays and are never 'safe' alternatives to the sun.
- Take care of your hands. Our hands are often the first part of our body to reveal signs of aging, as they are the most used and exposed parts of the body. Protect the hands by wearing gloves, moisturizing and applying sunscreen.
- Quit smoking. Smoking may damage more than your lungs—it causes skin aging and wrinkles around the mouth.
Like it or not, wrinkles are a natural part of aging. Even the most diligent skincare regimen or the most expensive wrinkle cream won’t totally eliminate your fine lines. You can significantly reduce the appearance of your wrinkles, however. Start taking care of your skin now, embrace your age and love the skin you’re in!
Acne is by far the most common skin complaint among teenagers, affecting nearly all of those between the ages of 12 and 17 at least occasionally, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. In most cases, hormones released during puberty are responsible for the appearance of blemishes during the teen years. These hormones stimulate the skin's sebaceous (oil) glands, producing oily skin that is more prone to breakouts. Because teens are extremely conscious of their image and appearance, an acne outbreak can be emotionally devastating.
While hormonal changes during puberty cause many types of acne to be unavoidable, with a diligent skincare regimen, many teens can help control breakouts from becoming severe, minimize the appearance of blemishes and prevent scarring.
- Keep skin clean. Teens produce more oil, so it's important to wash your face every day with warm water and a mild cleanser to remove excess surface oils and dead skin cells. Always remove makeup before going to bed to avoid clogging pores.
- Avoid over washing. Harsh scrubbing can lead to dry, irritated skin, which can actually increase inflammation and trigger glands to produce more oil.
- Don't pick. Squeezing and picking at acne can make breakouts worse. Picking at blemishes can also lead to greater inflammation and infection, increasing the risk for scarring.
- Keep hands off. Avoid touching your face throughout the day, as your hands carry bacteria.
- Use oil-free products. Avoid oil-based makeup. Instead, look for products that are noncomedogenic or non-acnegenic.
- Shower after sports or physical activities. Sweat and oil can settle on the skin's surface, trapping dirt and bacteria in the pores.
- Visit your dermatologist. Most cases of mild acne can be controlled and improved with a good skincare routine at home. If your skin problems persist, visit your dermatologist for professional treatment.
Being a teenager is tough enough without having to worry about breakouts. The good news is that effective treatments are available for acne - and the earlier treatment is started, the lower a teen's risk of lasting physical and emotional damage. When home care is not helping, talk to a dermatologist about treatment options. Your dermatologist can help tailor a treatment plan that is best for a teen's unique skin type and needs.