Resolve to Protect Your Skin in 2016
Living in Southwest Florida, we are exposed to some of the strongest UVA and UVB rays year-round. Research shows that UVA rays are the culprit behind accelerated signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles, sun spots, and thinning of the skin. Similarly, UVB rays cause damage by inducing changes at the cellular level in our skin, thereby causing skin cancers such as melanoma.
So what are some ways that we can protect our skin from the damaging effects of the sun? The approach to healthy skin is a multi-step process and always begins with sun protection.
Always wear sunscreen.
Sunscreen is our #1 anti-aging and anti-skin cancer product. We recommend using an SPF of at least 30, daily. There’s a common misconception that we don’t need to wear sunscreen unless we will be exposed to direct sunlight such as when we are in the pool or playing sports outside. However, the sun’s rays can penetrate glass windows like during our drive to work.
Even more, when we leave our homes to walk the dog, check the mailbox, or simply walk to the car, we are being exposed to harmful UV rays.
Have a skin care regimen.
Let’s talk about skin care. Although sunscreen is the most important protector against the signs of aging, it’s also important to use proper cleansers and moisturizers if you want to keep your skin looking healthy and youthful.
We recommend using a facial cleanser once to twice daily. This helps remove dirt and oil from the skin, thereby preventing clogged pores and acne. Stay away from facial scrubs, as these tend to contain sharp microbeads that actually cause small tears in the skin, which in turn promotes irritation and redness.
Moisturizing should be the second step in your skin care routine. There’s another misconception that oily skin does not need to be hydrated. Dry skin, as well as oily skin, needs to be moisturized with a non-comedogenic or non-pore clogging moisturizer.
Get an annual skin check.
Last but certainly not least, get an annual skin check with a dermatologist! You can also stay vigilant by performing monthly self-exams which are simple to do if you keep in mind the ABCDE model.
- A stands for Asymmetry, or one-half of the lesion does not look like the other.
- B is for Borders; notched borders or any poorly defined border should prompt suspicion.
- C is for Color; skin cancers often present with multiple colors within one mole.
- D is for Diameter, as melanomas are often greater than 6 mm when diagnosed.
- E stands for Evolving; if a lesion is changing or looks different from the ones around it, be suspicious and get it looked at.
These small changes in your daily routine can prevent you from being another American diagnosed with skin cancer. Take care of the largest organ in your body, your skin, by being proactive and implementing these changes today!