A chill may still be in the air, but spring and summer activities are right around the corner, which is why we thought it important to post the below skin cancer awareness tips (Skin Cancer Awareness Month takes place in May). World renowned celebrity plastic surgeon Dr. Gerald Imber (DrImber.com) shares the below tips based on his philosophy: prevention - maintenance - treatment, to help protect against skin cancer.
· Damaging sunlight involves two portions of the light spectrum: UVA and UVB.
UVB rays cause tanning and skin cancers in the superficial layer of the skin, and are prevalent in the mid day of the summer season. (10-4).
UVA rays are much more common, up to 50x more than UVB, and penetrate to the deep layer of the skin (dermis). They cause aging by denaturing collagen, and contribute to the development of skin cancers. UVA rays penetrate clothing and un-tinted glass. UVA and UVB are the best types of sunscreen. A combination of chemical ingredients as well as a sun block, or reflector of the sun’s rays is recommended. Do not believe claims of “waterproof or sport proof.” Sun protective clothing helps as well.
· Youth Corridor Soothe & Defend™ Moisturizer with SPF 30 UVA and UVB protection (www.youthcorridor.com) is a great daily use moisturizer and sunscreen. Many companies, like Neutrogena’s Sensitive Skin Sunblock Lotion, produce excellent titanium dioxide products for summer sun use.
· The most overlooked areas in need of protection are the nose, the neck and the back of the hands.
· It is not known whether any treatment can protect against incipient skin cancer, but aging accelerated by sun exposure is manifested in brown spots (sunspot), wrinkles and laxity of skin caused by collagen loss. These can be significantly reversed by certain laser treatments and by the daily application of antioxidant serums such as Youth Corridor (www.youthcorridor.com) Boost Skin Serum with 10% Vitamin C, E and Melatonin.
· It takes more than 25 years for skin cancer to develop. 80% of a lifetime of sun exposure occurs by age 18. Skin cancers typically develop after 50.
· Concerning skin cancer signs include irregular skin areas, growing lesions, or moles, and changing dark spots.
· 80% of all skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma usually cured by simple surgical excision. 10% are squamous cell carcinomas which have the ability to spread and must be excised more aggressively. The remaining 10% are melanomas, which are potentially lethal, and must be treated surgically, and very aggressively. These are typically very dark, spreading pigment spots, though occasionally may present in other forms.
· Skin cancers of the face present the difficult problem of removing them completely without defect or deformity. In areas like the nose, cheek or near the eyes skin, cancers are often removed by a technique called Moh’s Surgery. It actually maps the area and insures that all the cancer has been removed. This often leaves the patient with a difficult to repair defect. I have specialized in repairing difficult defects for several Moh’s surgeons for many years and the results are often nothing short of miraculous. It is a rewarding application of all the skills of the plastic surgeon, and an important service to provide the community.