May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and we, at Dermacare, are proud to support this educational initiative. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. One in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime, one in 55 will be diagnosed with melanoma, and melanoma is the second leading cause of cancer death among women under 39. What makes this an even greater tragedy is that we can significantly reduce the risk of developing skin cancer by developing good sun habits.
That was “the bad,” but what about “the ugly?” Here in San Diego, the sun is the most significant controllable factor that leads to aging of the skin. We cannot control our age and we cannot change our genetics, but we can control sun exposure. The sun contributes to the development of brown spots, worsens rosacea, thins the skin, and contributes to wrinkle development. The picture below from the New England Journal of Medicine dramatically shows the effects of 30 years of unprotected sun exposure. One side of this New York truck driver’s face was regularly exposed to more sun through his driver’s side window, and the effects are very obvious when compared to the opposite side of his face:
So, now that you’ve heard “the bad” and “the ugly,” it’s time for “the good” news: There are things we can do to reduce our risk of skin cancer, minimize the damaging effects, and still enjoy our San Diego sun. For skin cancer, the key is prevention. All you need to do is stop going to tanning beds, put on your most fashionable hat for the occasion, and in addition to applying your morning sunscreen, reapply throughout the day. In Southern California, the sun never takes time off! Good sunscreen contains zinc and titanium oxide, is convenient to reapply, and is a minimum of SPF 20 to 50. For us at Dermacare, Colorescience® Sunforgettable is our “go to” recommendation because the powder is easy to reapply and the small brush size conveniently fits in a purse or backpack. Don’t forget: Wear sunscreen daily, reapply every two to three hours, and repeat!
The second piece of good news is unlike skin cancer, where prevention is key, there are several products and lasers that can be used to reverse some of the damaging effects of the sun. Our collagen-building products, also known as Dermacare’s Core 4 (retinol, vitamin C, peptides, and glycolic acid), paired with growth factors like SkinMedica® TNS Essential Serum form the basis of collagen restoration. Chemical peels and lasers (Genesis, Fraxel®, and SmartSkin CO2™) can provide more aggressive and substantial collagen restoration.
Deciding which product and/or laser is right for you will require a consultation with our patient care team, so be sure to schedule your consultation soon. In the meantime, keep applying and reapplying your Sunforgettable sunscreen, and safely enjoy your Memorial Day celebrations!