There is a great risk factor when you play in the sun too frequently, for long periods of time, and or without adequate protection. The two predominant consequences relate to premature skin aging and skin cancer. Both, however, can be significantly reduced if you take the necessary precautions and care. The more you know the better suited you are to make the right choices and take the proper measures to reduce your risk of skin cancer and slow the aging process of your skin down. First, let’s take a look at some of the types of skin damage and skin cancer. Parker Wellness will then inform you of some easy and effective methods for taking care of your skin in the following articles.
Signs of Skin Aging: Overexposure to the sun can wreak havoc on your skin! Too much sun and not enough protection can lead to premature signs of aging.
- Fine lines
- Brown spots
- Leathery and tough skin in appearance and touch
Types of Skin Cancer (facts according to the American Academy of Dermatology):
Actinic Keratoses: This type is the precancerous, dry and scaly spots that appear from prolonged sun exposure. This typically appears in people over the age of 40 and will show up on areas such as the head, neck, arms, and forearms. You can avoid these unsightly patches and potentially cancer forming spots by regularly applying sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and limiting your exposure to direct sunlight, especially during peak hours (10am-2pm).
Basal Cell Carcinoma: This type is the most common form of skin cancer. It usually appears as a “flesh-colored, pearl-like bump or pinkish patch of skin.” Early detection and treatment of BCC is crucial in order to avoid the spread of this cancer to the surrounding nerves and bones.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This type is the second most common form of skin cancer. It usually appears as a “ red firm bump, scaly patch, or a sore that heals and reopens.” Early detection and treatment is important in order to stop it from spreading and damaging other parts of the body.
Melanoma: This type is the deadliest type of skin cancer.
Follow this helpful acronym for early detection!
One half is unlike the other half.
Spot or mole has an irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.
Color is varied from one area to another; has shades of tan, brown, or black, or is sometimes white, red, or blue.
Melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.
Over three million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. It is the most prevalent form of cancer and one of the most preventable. The vast majority of skin cancer stems from unprotected overexposure to the sun. It is crucial that we take skincare seriously! Now that you are well versed in the types of skin cancer and visible signs of premature skin aging, we will continue on with this mini series by sharing with you ways to protect your skin, care for your skin, and reverse the signs of premature skin aging.