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Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Another thing I learned alot about working in a derm office was the sun.. and skin cancer.

There is so much controversy over sun bathing, sun protection, and Vit D. First of all you should know that most of your skin damage that could lead to skin cancer was done before you turned 4 years old. and will take a few decades to show itself. You should also know that.. wearing skin protection (long sleeves, or sunblock) all the time when outside can lead to a Vitamin D deficiency. I know, I Know your thinking that Vit D isnt really that important and you should worry more about your skin. Have you ever seen someone who's Vitamin D levels are very low.. no your prolly havnt because they do not come out of the house, they are not happy people and are usually sick.

The Doctor I worked with suggested that when you go outside you get 10-12 minutes of unprotected sun a day then apply your sunscreen.

speaking of sunscreen.. there are so many which one do you choose? There are a few things to look for in Sun screen:
UVA/UVB coverage
level of SPF
and an ingredient called Avobenzone

1) UVA/UVB coverage- The A rays, they are the aging rays the ones that give you wrinkles, discoloration, and leathery skin... but do not lead to skin cancer. The B rays- these are the burning rays. they do lead to skin cancer. Usually (key word) an even tan that is gained slowly and moderately will not lead to skin cancer.. just pre-mature again.. but a burn.. well that is skin cancer in the making. The UVB rays will come out very strong starting around the 21st of March.
2)Level of SPF(Sun Protection Factor)- Some sunscreens esp childrens are now coming out with SPF90... honestly there are not enough hours of daylight for this to help you. The number basically just means the amount of time you can stay out in the sun without burning. Keep in  mind that no matter the SPF level.. sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours.... NO. MATTER. WHAT... within 2 hours you will most likely have sweat it out of your pores, wiped it off, or washed it off. When it comes to children.. usually SPF45 is a great number just make sure you are replying   every 2 hours.
3)Avobenzone-found under the product name mexoryl SX.. it broad spectrum compound that protects against both short and long rays.

Depending on your skin types,history,genetics.. you may want to look into getting yearly skin evaluations. However you should be doing home self skin exams every 3 months(once a season)... why three months? Melanoma can be in an early stage for 4-8 months where you can catch it, and remove it.. by checking every three months you can catch it inside the window of opportunity to remove it. But not you must be asking what should you check for? Some of us will have moles and freckels all over while others may only have one on your whole body. When looking at your "spots" look for the following in comparison to your other spots
Does this spot look:
or is there a Dark Dot

Different- if your body makes your moles very round, and this one is not round at all that would be different
Darker-If your body makes light brown moles and this is almost black that would be darker (my body makes very dark moles and they are normal)
Dark Dot- If there is a Dark dot off to the side.. again something to consider.

just like driving your car,.. if you hear a weird sound it doesn't mean something is wrong but you get it checked out.. same with your skin.. if you notice something different you get it looked at.. It doesn't always mean dangerous just different.

Also if you are watching your moles every 3 months you will notice if something has changed.. if things are staying they same they are usually fine... Radiologist's use this when it comes to films if there is a spot on a mamogram they will ask for the films from 6 months ago or 3 years ago if the spot is the same size and has not changed it must not be doing anything dangerous.

If it is skin cancer it will continue to grow and change... if its staying the same chances are it's just fine!

~again.. Im not a doctor.. just sharing the knowledge I learned working as a nurse in a plastic/derm office.


Tracy-Girl @ Then I Got To Thinking said...

Very good information to know. I didn't realize that the really cancerous stuff happens before 4 years of age... that's good to know!!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

With vacations coming up this is good info to know!