Tag: skin cancer

More than Moles: Some Shocking, Surprising Signs of Skin Cancer

Sunscreen Boy Image 2 (2)

 

Most of the news reports about skin cancer will warn people to keep a close watch on moles for changes. But did you know that there are actually many types of skin cancer that don’t present as moles at all? Skin cancers can also look like a red spot, a blemish, a bump, or a small patch of crusty, dry skin, for example.

The most important warning sign for cancer actually has nothing to do with moles; it has to do with healing. If you have anything unusual appear on your skin that doesn’t seem to heal, having it inspected by a dermatologist is highly recommended.

Below are descriptions of some common types of skin cancer, what to look for to catch them early, and treatment options:

 

1. Actinic Keratosis—

Technically, these rough, flesh-colored, pink or red bumps are considered a form of pre-cancer, and are most common on the face and ears, or any other place that receives a lot of sun exposure.

The small, crusty lesions can feel itchy or hurt when touched, and even though they don’t always turn into cancer, most doctors will choose to remove them.

Cryosurgery is the fastest, least painful and most common form of removal, using a highly focused spray of liquid nitrogen or liquid carbon dioxide to freeze off the offending tissue.

For some, cryosurgery spots will form immediately into small scabs that heal within 1-2 weeks, and others may develop a blister first (that will soon scab over and heal).

 

2. Basal Cell Carcinoma—

Formed from the basal (bottom) layer of the epidermis, basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer, and fortunately, rarely spreads to other parts of the body. It can cause damage to surrounding areas, however, making it important to remove it as early as possible.

This type of skin cancer doesn’t grow inside of existing moles like melanoma, and will instead look like a patch of dry, red, scaly or crusty skin. Basal cell carcinoma may also present as a shiny bump or flesh-colored mole with light pigment.

Because of the varied ways this type of cancer can look, it’s important to remember that if anything forms on the skin and doesn’t heal, have it checked out.

When caught early, basal cell carcinomas will be confirmed through biopsy, and may be removed via cryosurgery during a quick office visit. If they are larger or deeper, they may need to be excised from the skin until all cancerous layers are eliminated.

 

3. Squamous Cell Carcinoma—

This type of cancer will often be larger than basal cell carcinoma, darker in color, have a bump under the skin, or domed, wart-like appearance. The edges of a squamous cell carcinoma will be irregular and may ulcerate to bleed or form a crust.

Because they arise from the top layer of cells, these skin cancers are often noticed more quickly than others, which is good because they can spread to organs if untreated.

Squamous cell carcinoma is generally cut out and stitched up in-office like larger basal cell carcinomas, and some doctors will use desiccation during surgery, applying an electric current to kill cancer cells and lessen bleeding.

 

4. Melanoma—

Melanoma forms in pigment-producing cells, which is why it often shows up in moles, prompting the warnings to check for irregular borders or sudden expansion of existing spots. This type of cancer can come in many different colors, often presenting with multiple hues in the same area.

Like all cancers, the growth rate of melanoma can be slow or rapid, but because the potential to spread throughout the body is higher in the case of melanoma, this is considered the most dangerous and life-threatening form of skin cancer.

Melanomas should be removed immediately, with blood work done to ensure cancer cells haven’t spread to other areas of the body. If caught early, melanoma generally won’t require topical or systemic chemotherapy.

 

Having red or blonde hair, pale skin, excessive levels of early sun exposure, tanning bed use, and a past history of severe sunburns are some of the factors that increase the risk of developing skin cancer. But it is recommended that everyone avoid direct sunlight during peak hours (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), use sun-blocking clothing, hats and eyewear, and apply sunscreen to unprotected skin.

Considering that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, and that by age 65 almost half of our country’s population will develop some form of it, it’s extremely important to recognize the potential signs. As the most dangerous version, melanoma is most often discussed, but there are many other forms of skin cancer. Use the tips above to recognize and remove anything suspicious so you can keep your skin healthy and cancer-free.

Tips to Keep Sunless Tans Long-Lasting and Looking Lovely

Tan Bikini Girls (2)

 

With skin cancer rates continuously climbing, more people are choosing to skip tanning outside or in tanning beds, and opting for the much safer, healthier version of beautiful bronzed skin: sunless tanning.

Whether via sunless tanning lotion or spray tanning, it’s now entirely possible to achieve the sun-kissed glow you desire in a safer, faster and controlled manner, eliminating the sunburn risks that come with outdoor tans. Sunless tanning has become more popular than ever for these reasons, with many celebrities talking openly about having it done before award ceremonies and big events.

So how do the professionals ensure a smooth, even, high-quality sunless tan, and how do we keep it lasting as long as possible? Check out the helpful tips below to find out.

 

1. Proper Preparation—

You’ll want your skin to be in the perfect condition to accept sunless tanning solution, and this involves exfoliation of all dead skin cells and moisturizing skin.

Without exfoliation, spray tanned skin may slough off post-tanning session where dry patches were previously, leaving you splotchy and pale in places, so be sure to scrub your skin a few days before. But don’t exfoliate immediately before sunless tanner is applied, as this can cause irritation and uneven spots.

Moisturize skin well a few days before to prime it for your upcoming tanning lotion or spray tan application, but not immediately before, as this can prevent the tanner from absorbing properly.

 

2. Carefully Color—

Once you’ve gone too far, you’ll have to live with the citrusy orange appearance you’ve created until it fades, so it’s always best to progress slowly when using any type of sunless tanning solution. You want to look like you spent a week on a beach vacation, not like you drink too much carrot juice, after all.

So take it slow when starting out and remember, you can always apply more sunless tanner or schedule another spray tan session. It’s better to need a second application than to regret going too heavy with the first one.

Also; remember to pull back your hairline when applying sunless tanner to eliminate a mask-like facial appearance, and wash hands well afterward to avoid staining.

 

3. Comfy Clothing—

If you’re applying self-tanning lotion or receiving a spray tan, try to wait as long as possible before getting dressed after application, as clothing can absorb the lotion, giving you an uneven effect.

When you get dressed, remember to choose loose-fitting, baggy clothing made from natural fibers, such as a thin cotton. The more breathable and flowing your post-sunless tanning session clothes are, the less likely they’ll be to ruin your results.

Another tip: Wear dark clothing anytime sunless tanner is applied to your body to hide stains, and bring flip-flops for your feet.

 

4. Awesome After-Care—

Once you’ve achieved the color you’ve been seeking, you’re going to want to keep it for as long as possible, without streaks and fading. This sunless tan maintenance is easily achievable if you can remember a few important things.

First; don’t shower for at least 8 hours – maybe even 12 if you can take it. This will give the tanner time to properly develop and set. You worked hard for this lovely color, so don’t rinse it off.

Second; when you do shower, avoid overly hot water or harsh soaps and body washes that can pull the color out of your skin. Be gentle, and moisturize after bathing.

Third, avoid exfoliating and scrubbing of skin, as this can cause blotchiness and faster fading. And skip all chlorinated pools or hot tubs, as these will also hasten your return to the land of the pasty.

 

5. Marvelous Maintenance—

By using tan-extending products, anyone can lengthen the life of a sunless tan. There are even exfoliators made specifically for those with spray tans, and lotions made to boost self-tanning gradually to keep the desired color.

While exfoliation is recommended against for those with sunless tans, it can be used to remove color from areas that are commonly too-dark, such as elbows, knees and wrists.

If you get spray tans, don’t forget that you can extend the life of your investment with sunless tanning lotions and moisturizers that offer slow color-building.

 

It’s also important to remember that sunless tanning methods like self-tanning lotions and spray tans provide no sun protection, so be sure to wear your usual SPF to avoid the sun damage you’re wisely skipping by choosing sunless tanning.

Eat healthfully and stay hydrated to keep skin radiant from within, and use the tips above to achieve and keep the beautiful, bronze glow you’ve been seeking.

Skin Cancer is Scary, and 7 Other Reasons to Choose Sunless Tanning

401px-Bikini_shower (2)

 

Everybody knows that lying in the sun for endless hours to achieve the golden glow we love is not only detrimental to the quality of our skin, it can be deadly. For this reason, everyone is turning to sunless tanning methods, even celebrities.

By avoiding excessive sunshine, we’re not damaging our precious skin like generations of the past once had to for beautiful bronze coloring. This is because we now have many wonderfully effective alternatives, such as sunless tanning creams and spray tans.

If you’re still a sun worshipper, read the reasons you should consider a new way to get the color you love, below:

 

1. Skin Cancer is Scary—

While genetics definitely play a role, the number one cause of skin cancer is sun exposure. And it builds up over time, creating a cumulative effect upon your skin that can lead to different forms of this disease.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, and can look like a little scaly, red patch of skin you might dismiss as a dry spot.

Squamous cell carcinoma is generally larger and raised, with more discoloration and roughness.

Both types of skin cancer have a low metastasizing rate, and can generally be removed without further treatment.

Melanoma, however, often presents inside of moles and pigmented areas, making it more visually obvious, with a dangerously higher rate of spreading throughout the body.

By using sunless forms of tanning, you can drastically reduce your chances of developing skin cancers of any type, saving yourself trips to the dermatologist to have skin cancers cut and burned off, or worse.

 

2. Sunless Tanning is Faster—

Lying in one place for hours can be pretty boring, and sunbathing is no exception. You know you’re participating in a less-than-thrilling activity when “looking forward to the next time you can turn over” is the highlight.

If you’re a reader with a good book or magazine, this may keep you entertained until you’re out of material… but wouldn’t you rather be doing what you want to do with your time?

Sunless tanning lotions and spray tans are done in quick sessions, and you can quickly move on with your busy life afterward. Freedom!

 

3. No Premature Aging—

Ask your dermatologist or aesthetician how you got those wrinkles on your face if you have them, or how you can avoid them if you don’t yet have any, and the first thing out of her/his mouth will be, “Stay out of the sun, and use sunscreen.”

Experts agree that nothing ages us like the sun, and even those who eat healthfully and don’t smoke are entirely susceptible to its damaging rays, no matter what they think.

By skipping sun time completely with tanning lotions or sprays, you’re also skipping the wrinkles that would have come with it. Smart move.

 

4. No Slimy Sweating—

Yes, lying in the sun feels good… for about 15 minutes until the sweating starts to make you feel uncomfortable and sticky.

If you have a swimming pool or ocean to splash into to cool down while sunbathing, this feels better… and it rinses off your sunscreen, forcing you to reapply or face potential sunburn.

If you’d like to skip the sickeningly slimy sensation of roasting on a grill, choose sunless tanning products.

 

5. Sunless Tanning is Cheaper—

Unless you live somewhere the sun shines year-round and the outdoor temperature allows for sunbathing, you’ll need to use tanning beds to stay golden. But depending on your skin tone and desired color, multiple tanning bed visits can be time-consuming and costly.

The extra time and money factor involved with constant tanning bed appointments makes tanning via lotion or spray tan a much more affordable option.

 

6. Self-Tanners Can Help You Look Younger—

Some self-tanning products include moisturizing and anti-aging benefits, making them a much better decision than lying in the sun, prematurely aging yourself.

Soft and moisturized, golden-tanned skin, or a dried-out leathery look? You decide.

 

7. Stay Perfectly Tanned Year-Round—

Unlike tanning in the outdoors, sunless tanners allow you to choose your color tone and level of pigment without the risk of burning or freckling.

Spray tans especially allow for smoother, more even all-over color, so you can look like you live on the beach, even if you’re in the middle of a snowy winter.

 

8. You Can Use All-Natural Ingredients—

Most sunless tanners are FDA approved, but if you’re a girl who tries to keep it real, there are self-tanners available that use all-natural substances such as beets and sugar cane.

There are also bronzers that utilize walnut oil, henna, carrot oil, black tea extract and other safe and food-based ingredients to stain the skin for a temporarily darker appearance.

 

Tanned skin can make us feel better about the way we look, reducing the appearance of cellulite and raising our self-esteem, but we don’t need to damage ourselves to achieve this. If you’re still baking yourself in the sun, think about the great reasons listed above, and consider giving sunless tanning a try instead: your skin will thank you.