AGING AND SKIN CANCER
Prevention of skin cancer consists of daily use of sunscreens, protective clothing, and sun avoidance. Tanning beds cause skin cancer and should be absolutely avoided. Regular full-body skin examinations help to detect pre-cancers and skin cancers in their earliest stages. Patients are advised to perform a monthly self-skin examination in front a full length mirror and using a hand held mirror. Any new or non-healing growths should prompt a visit to the dermatologist’s office.
AVOID EXPOSURE TO THE SUN
Avoid the sun as much as possible. Most wrinkles, discolorations, prominent blood vessels, precancers and skin cancers can be improved or treated by medications, laser, liquid nitrogen and surgery, but the best approach to maintaining young-looking cancer-free skin is to avoid exposing your skin to the ultraviolet light of the sun. No sunscreen is as effective as avoidance. Try to stay indoors when the sun is at its strongest such as midday. Whenever possible wear sun protective clothing, including wide-brimmed hats.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM BOTH UV-B AND UV-A FROM THE SUN
UV-B ultraviolet rays cause both skin cancer and sunburns. UV-A is associated with the tanning response rather than burning but penetrates deeper, causing damage that results in wrinkles as well as causing skin cancers.
UV-A can cause damage to people with ALL skin and eye colors. However, skin pigment of blue- and hazel-eyed people is often ineffective in absorbing UV-A rays, and therefore does not protect the skin.
Both UV-B and UV-A are strongest during the hours around midday. Window glass tends to block UV-B rays; UV-A passes right through window glass.
Tanning Parlors are Dangerous. Tanning means damage to yours skins DNA. That damage results in cancer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a significant number of melanomas come from tanning bed use. Many states have outlawed tanning bed use for anyone under 18.
Regular use of sunglasses that block UV-A and UV-B reduce the chance of getting cataracts and macular degeneration. This is especially important for people with blue or hazel eyes who may get these conditions while in their 40’s or 50’s. People of all eye colors and ages can delay cataracts and the near blindness of macular degeneration by minimizing UV-A and UV-B exposure to the eyes. Sunglasses, along with protecting the skin from the sun, should start during childhood and continue lifelong.