Some of us are born with spots on our skin. It's what makes us unique in the form of freckles, beauty makes, and moles. Our skin is designed to protect us against the elements and survive most punctures and wounds. Healthy skin tissue is self healing and regenerating. However moments of negligence can be somewhat self-destructive. Failing to thoroughly protect ourselves with sunscreen and sun reflecting gear is the culprit to getting sunburns. Allowing the sun to burn our skin places us in greater risk of developing dangerous and often deadly skin disorders*.
A Pre-cancer called actinic keratosis are possible indications of basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma forming on the skin. It is characterized by red, pink, or rough patches of skin*.
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Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
The cancer forms on the lowest or deepest layer of epidermis, which is the outermost layer of skin. It is commonly found on the head and neck and comprises 80% of all reported skin cancers. These lesions can look like open sores, red or pink patches and growths, scars, and shiny bumps*.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
The cells in the mid-layer of the epidermis are affected by this more aggressive carcinoma. Red scaly and rough skin lesions can form on the hands, head, neck, lips, and ears*.
Although less common than other types of cancerous skin lesions, this deadly skin cancer accounts for 75% of all reported skin cancer related deaths. This lesion can often resemble a mole. It is a mutation in the skin cells that create pigment. The lesions are usually asymmetrical in shape, have irregular borders, and vary in color and type*.
Non sun related skin cancer
These skin lesions affect the cells of the blood vessels close to the skin; typically associated with patients with AIDS and is caused by a type of herpes virus. They vary in color from brownish-red to blue and usually form on the legs and feet*.
The C word is scary but it could become a part of your reality if you don't follow some simple precautions. We've included some helpful sun-safe tips, straight from the skin cancer foundation (skincancer.org), to integrate into your day out.
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM*.
- Do not burn*.
- Avoid tanning and never use UV tanning beds*.
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses*.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher*.
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating*.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months*.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month*.
- See your physician every year for a professional skin exam*.
Age Spots/Liver Spots
These spots are also cause by increased pigmentation of the epidermis but are harmless as opposed to its scary relatives. The will look oval in shape, vary in size, and be light to dark brown in color. Look for them on areas that are exposed to the sun the most like shoulders, arms, hands, and face. Follow the same guideline above, to retain youthful, non-spotty skin. The option of lightening the spots is available for cosmetic purposes. A dark spot corrector can visibly lighten and improve the look of age spots*. Find a natural formula that will be gentle and beneficial for your skin.
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