Skin Cancer 101

Skin Cancer 101

Did you know that skin cancer is not only the most common type of cancer, but also the most preventable? According to the American Cancer Society, about 3.3 million Americans are diagnosed with a form of skin cancer every year. This is a staggering number, and when you consider the fact that with a little extra care these people could have avoided this disease all together, it is beyond heart breaking. With the summer months quickly approaching, learning how to take care of your skin is even more crucial. Let’s take a look at what causes skin cancer, how to keep an eye out for suspicious spots and moles and how using the right skin lotions and creams can help you in your quest to remain cancer-free.
What Causes Skin Cancer?
The sun is one of the biggest culprits in the development of skin cancer. Using tanning beds, which are just another form of UV rays, are also bad for the skin and can lead to cancer forming on the skin. The UV rays damage the cells on the skin which initiates the production of mutations or genetic defects causing the damaged cells to multiply and turn into cancerous areas on the skin. There are several types of skin cancer including:

  • Melanoma
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Actinic Keratosis

Each type has its own set of symptoms, risks and treatments, but they all share one thing in common: they are ALL caused by unprotected sun exposure.
How Do You Recognize Skin Cancer?
Each type of skin cancer has a unique set of warning signs to watch out for. Here is a quick rundown of the appearance of each type of skin cancer:
Melanoma – Watching moles closely can help you see the signs of melanoma. Changes in the look, size, or feel of moles is what you should be looking for when you examine the skin. Moles that become asymmetrical, have uneven borders, change color, increase in diameter or change in any other way, are all signs of melanoma.
Basal Cell Carcinoma – The top sign of a basal cell carcinoma is an open sore that does not heal easily. That symptom is also one of the easiest to detect. Some symptoms are mistaken for eczema or psoriasis such as a reddish patch of skin that itches or hurts. Other signs are scar-like spots that are white, waxy and shiny, pink bumps that have tiny blood vessels on the top and unusual bumps that can look like shiny moles.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma – This type is characterized by thick, rough patches that bleed easily. They are hard to get rid of and can sometimes be misperceived as a wart. If you bump into something, the patches can turn into open sores that have a raised border and are crusty on top.
How Do You Prevent Skin Cancer?
Here is the million-dollar question. The answer can literally mean the difference in life and death. We all know it is practically impossible to stay completely out of the sun unless you like being a hermit. So prevention is all about gearing up before you go out. The Skin Cancer Foundation has a few tips such as wearing hats to block out the sun, limiting your time outside during the hottest part of the day and the biggie, always wearing sunscreen or lotions that have at least 15 SPF.
We have an extensive line of skin care products to help you in your journey to maintain healthy skin:

  • ZO Skin Care
  • Obagi
  • NIA24
  • Theraderm
  • Glymed
  • Elta MD

All of these skin care products will help protect the skin, heal the skin from sun damage and rejuvenate the skin so it will look youthful and healthy. Having a skin cancer prevention regiment is the best way to begin the fight against this terrible disease. Make sure you apply sunscreen to all the exposed parts of the body at least 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply after swimming, sweating or after anything that may wash or rub off the sunscreen. Apply skin repairing cream each night before bed, and most importantly, get a checkup from your doctor once a year. You can add years onto your life by following this simple prevention regiment. Your skin and your family will thank you!