Tag: sunscreen is important

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

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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.

7 Simple Steps to Sexy Summer Skin

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The weather’s getting warmer, and with summertime comes the revealing clothing and swimwear you’ll be wearing – especially if you’re planning on hanging out poolside or at the beach. This means the dry, pasty skin you’ve been hiding under layers of winter clothing will be visible to the world, so you’re going to want to be prepared.

Getting our bodies ready for summer can take some work, and below we’re going to discuss the things everyone should do to get skin ready for public viewing. Read and follow these 7 simple steps to sexy summer skin, and you’ll be gorgeously glowing in no time!

1. Hydrate to Look Great—

The first step to beautiful skin, no matter what the season, is proper hydration. If you want to look fresh and dewy, you need to give your skin the moisture it craves, and above all else, this comes from the inside out.

Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day, and carry a water bottle with you wherever you go to keep your skin revitalized and radiant.

2. Exfoliation for the Beauty Nation—

Now that you’ve hydrated to plump up skin from within, it’s time to get the dried upper level of your epidermis off so you can set free your inner shine with pretty polished perfection.

To exfoliate, you can use a body scrub like many of the sugar scrubs available, make your own version at home with sugar, honey, olive oil and other skin-friendly foods, or use a body brush with a liquid exfoliator to work the dead skin cells off and reveal your healthy glow.

3. Natural Nutrition—

You are what you eat, and if what you’re eating is a bunch of processed or greasy junk and fast food, it’s going to show on your skin. Poor food choices can lead to a lackluster look, and even acne, making it especially important to eat well when your skin will be on display in bathing suits or summer dresses.

If you want to have incredible skin year-round, go heavy on the fruits and vegetables, and always eat clean to cleanse the body of toxins, because a good diet can really make skin look amazing.

4. Super Soap—

Sometimes our choice of soap can dry out the skin, leaving it flaky and older-looking than it actually is by creating wrinkles caused by dehydration rather than age.

It’s important no matter what the season to use a soap that pampers the skin and doesn’t rob it of all its moisture. Choose an all-natural soap that contains olive, almond, avocado, coconut, or any other kind of oil that sounds good to you, and give your skin the gift of gentle cleansing.

5. Magical Moisturizer—

In addition to not stripping the skin of all its oils with a good soap, it’s important to hold in the moisture with a lotion that prevents it from drying and flaking later.

There are tinted lotions and those that gradually add color to the skin, and even creams that provide shimmer, so don’t be afraid to be the glittery girl at the pool party. It’s okay to sparkle on the outside as well as on the inside!

6. Terrifically Tanned—

Dermatologists no longer recommend basking in the sun for color, and with the rates of skin cancer rising higher yearly, they make a good point. Fortunately for us, there are sunless tanning options available that look just as good as the “real thing.”

Whether you use a sunless tanning lotion, or get a professional spray tan, if you follow the steps above, your skin will be perfectly prepared to soak up the color as long as you don’t moisturize immediately before sunless tanner application.

7. Save Skin with Sunscreen—

In addition to causing skin cancer, sun exposure can age people prematurely, create unwanted spots and freckles, and make skin look leathery and hard, rather than smooth, moist and young.

This means that always using sunscreen of at least 30 or 40 SPF is of the utmost importance. And remember that even though you have a sunless tan, this extra pigment provides no protection from sun damage.

Don’t forget to get a pedicure for cute summer feet, and if you’re going to shave or wax, time your hair removal so that skin won’t be red or irritated when you’re trying to show it off. Use the 7 helpful preparation tips above to present the sexiest summer skin ever this year, so you can feel beautiful and have fun, no matter where you go.