Many people are surprised to learn that there are more new cancers of skin cancer each year than all the combined cancers of the breast, prostate, lung, colon and other internal cancers. The statistics are alarming and sobering. One person in the U.S. dies every 54 minutes from skin cancer, primarily melanoma, and 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime.
Why is Skin Cancer Prevention Important?
With skin cancer increasing at alarming rates each year, how can we prevent this from adversely affecting our lives and the well-being of our families? Prevention is the most effective form of treatment, so here is a summary of research-proven concepts and new findings in skin cancer prevention. These methods can be used by any patient to reduce their risk as well as improve the health and youthfulness of the skin.
Choosing the Correct Sunscreen
One of the most important things to focus on is choosing a sunscreen that is of medical-grade quality. Why? Because in a recent study, over 75 percent of over-the-counter sunscreens tested did not have the level of protection that was advertised. Medical-grade sunscreens are generally certified by an independent agency to be sure that the level of protection is accurate and consistent with the way it is labeled. More importantly, medical-grade sunscreen does not break down in sunlight which has been a significant problem with some sunscreens.
Antioxidants & Sunscreen
Recent studies have proven that the use of an effective antioxidant underneath a sunscreen can theoretically reduce the ultraviolet induced damages that may cause pre-cancerous and eventually cancerous cells. Antioxidants are naturally derived compounds that reduce free radicals, which are molecules that damage the cell wall, cell nucleus and lead to changes that may result in cancer. Since antioxidants are fragile and technically difficult to formulate it’s important to speak with a professional skin care expert to ensure you’re using an antioxidant that has been certified and tested.
Exfoliation is Important
Regular exfoliation of the skin removes the outermost layers, which contain the most pre-cancerous and aged cells. As we get older, the natural exfoliation that we enjoy in youth significantly diminishes meaning we tend to retain older and sun-damaged skin cells, which may lead to invasive skin cancers. It has been proven that regular exfoliation can decrease your risk of skin cancer. Exfoliation is as simple as getting an oscillating skin cleansing brush, such as the Clarisonic, along with natural fruit acids, facial cleanser containing alpha and beta-hydroxy acid and enzymes that are in many of the high-grade medical skin care companies’ products.
Deep Exfoliation is Key
Deeper exfoliation with a medical chemical peel or laser resurfacing may help prevent skin cancer. How is that possible? Studies at Indiana University show that in older patients who have higher cancer risk a laser or deep chemical peel increases the natural production of a protective protein called IGF-1, which can kill pre-cancerous cells naturally. IGF-1 levels are higher in younger adults, decreasing over time. So stimulation of the skin can restore normal IGF-1 levels, and give you a level of natural protection from Mother Nature. This has a huge benefit in preventing skin cancer, while simultaneously restoring youthful skin.
Finding a Skin Care Professional
Finding a skin care professional who can recommend a personalized medical skin care program for you is ideal for skin cancer prevention. Specifically, the regimen should involve Vitamin A derivatives such as retinoic acid or retinol. It has been shown that natural exfoliation can improve with the use of retinol, a derivative of Vitamin A but these are very powerful compounds and should be supervised by a medical professional. Regular exfoliation and stimulation of our skin not only reduces potential skin cancer risk, but restores youthful and attractive qualities to your complexion.
Advanced Concepts in Skin Protection
Traditional concepts of sun care and protection are changing. While it’s always important to wear sunscreen daily, it will not change pre-existing ultraviolet radiation damage which may lead to skin cancers. The above fundamental concepts are important to keep in mind if you would like to significantly lower your risk of skin cancer and maintain the youthful quality of your skin.
Finally, it’s important to see a licensed aesthetician or an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon to have a proper skin evaluation. This helps them create an individualized skin care program that fully enhances your skin health and protects it from harmful sun rays.
Visit evolv Plastic Surgery & Medical Aesthetics today to receive your skin analysis by one of our licensed aestheticians.