Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., affecting one in five Americans in their lifetime. Nearly 20 Americans die from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, every day. Dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology are sharing six skin care tips they recommend to all of their patients - and actually use themselves. It’s important for everyone to identify and understand their skin type:
- Sensitive skin may sting or burn after product use
- Normal skin is clear and not sensitive
- Dry skin is flaky, itchy or rough
- Oily skin is shiny and greasy
- Combination skin is dry in some areas and oily in others
To maintain healthy skin, follow these 6 tips.
- Check your skin regularly
It is important to check your skin regularly for new spots, spots that are different from other spots on your body, or moles that itch, bleed or change color, as these are often early warning signs of skin cancer. If you notice any suspicious spots, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist. When detected early, skin cancer, including melanoma, is highly treatable. The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 98 percent.
- Simplify your skin care routine
Using too many products, especially multiple anti-aging products, can irritate your skin. Instead, focus on the basics, such as a gentle cleanser, sunscreen and moisturizer. Establish morning and nighttime skin care routines that work well for your skin, and stick with them. Less is more when it comes to skin care.
- Apply lip balm
If your lips feel chapped or dry, apply petroleum jelly for added moisture. Since skin cancer can form on the lips, apply a lip balm or lipstick that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher before going outdoors.
- Avoid touching your face
Do your best to leave your skin alone throughout the day. Avoid picking, popping or squeezing pimples, as this can cause scarring. Whenever you touch your face, you transfer dirt, germs and oil from your hands to your face.
- Use sunscreen daily
To save time in your skin care routine, you can consider using a moisturizer that also contains sunscreen. However, while cosmetics that contain sunscreen are convenient, remember to reapply them in order to achieve the best sun protection. Keep in mind that since no sunscreen can block 100% of the sun’s UV rays, it’s also important to seek shade and wear protective clothing when outdoors, including a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible. For the best protection, apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all skin not covered by clothing, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
- Avoid tanning beds
Tanning beds emit harmful UV radiation that causes skin cancer. In fact, even one indoor tanning session can increase your risk of developing melanoma by 20 percent, squamous cell carcinoma by 67 percent and basal cell carcinoma by 29 percent. If you want that golden glow, achieve it with self-tanning products instead. When applied correctly, self-tanners look natural and won’t give you orange skin, streaks or splotches.
“When it comes to skin care, I like to keep it simple for both my patients and myself,” says board-certified dermatologist Ivy Lee, MD, FAAD. “Sun protection including seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and applying sunscreen is nonnegotiable for me and one of the most important things you can do for your skin, since ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause skin cancer and premature skin aging, such as wrinkles and age spots. This is important year-round, not just during the summer, and even on cloudy days. Understanding your skin type will help you learn how to take care of your skin and select skin care products that are right for you. However, when buying skin care products, keep in mind that an effective skin care routine doesn’t need to be complicated or cost a small fortune. The skin is your body’s largest organ, so it’s important to take good care of it. If you have questions about your skin type or how to take care of your skin, talk to a dermatologist.”
Seasonal Skin Changes
A recent study provides information that may help explain why many people experience eczema and dry skin in the winter. In tests of skin on 80 adults, the levels of breakdown products of filaggrin, which is a protein that helps maintain the skin's barrier function, changed between winter and summer on the cheeks and hands. Changes were also seen regarding the texture of corneocytes, cells in the outermost part of the skin's epidermis.
This study – in the British Journal of Dermatology - shows clearly that the skin barrier is affected by climatic and seasonal changes. Both children and adults suffer from red cheeks in the winter in northern latitudes and some may even develop more permanent skin conditions such as atopic eczema and rosacea," said senior author Dr. Jacob Thyssen of the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark. "By the use of high magnification we show that the skin cells suffer from shrinkage and therefore change their surface. The clinical message to individuals are that they should protect their skin with emollients in the winter and sunscreen in the summer.”
"We already know that humidity can affect the texture of the skin and impact on skin disorders like eczema, and humidity fluctuates according to season,” added Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists. “In the winter, rapidly changing temperatures, from heated indoors to cold outdoors environments, can affect the capillaries, and prolonged exposure to wet weather can strip the skin's barrier function. This latest study is interesting as it sheds new light on further reasons for seasonal skin changes at a cellular level. Given that skin problems are the most common reason for people to visit their doctor, any research that improves our understanding of skin disorders and how best to manage them is always a positive step."
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With over 30 years of writing and editing experience for newspapers, magazines and corporate communications, Kevin Kerfoot writes about natural health, nutrition, skincare and oral hygiene for Trusted Health Products’ natural health blog and newsletters.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.