Most doctors recommend periodic physical exams, plenty of exercise, and following a well-balanced diet to ensure a healthy lifestyle. However, you may develop conditions that affect your health and wellness even when following your doctor's recommendations. While shocking to learn, one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. Because the skin is readily exposed to the sun and other forms of ultraviolet light throughout the day, it is easy to see why this form of cancer is so common. Unfortunately, most people do not truly understand the development of skin cancer, but this guide can help. Here are a few essential facts you NEED to know about skin cancer.
You Must Reapply Sunscreen
You probably have heard that applying sunscreen is one of the most important preventative measures for preventing this deadly disease, but this is not a one-and-done type of task. Applying a second or even third coat of sunscreen may be necessary for maximum protection.
Of course, you may think you do not need more sunscreen if you are not swimming or getting wet in any way. Unfortunately, you will rub, sweat, and wear off your sunscreen without any contact with water. In addition, time and UV exposure will cause the active chemicals in your sunscreen to break down, decreasing your protection.
Be sure to reapply your sunscreen to reduce exposure to UV light and to decrease your risk of skin cancer.
Indoor Tanning Is More Harmful
If you prefer your skin to have a healthy, warm glow, but worry about the harmful effects of the sun, you may choose to use indoor tanning beds. Unfortunately, tanning beds are even more harmful than spending time in the actual sun.
Tanning beds use UVA rays, which have a longer wavelength. These UVA rays filter out the UVB rays, degenerating collagen in the skin and increasing the risk of burning. This excessive skin damage combined with the release of 12 times more UVA rays make tanning beds a great deal more dangerous than tanning in the sun.
Medication May Increase Risk of Skin Cancer
Another surprising fact is that certain medications may increase your risk of skin cancer through reactions called phototoxicity or photoallergy.
Phototoxicity is a chemical reaction that occurs when the skin is exposed to UVA rays. The chemicals in the skin stem from the actual medications. The appearance of phototoxicity is similar to a severe sunburn that does not seem to improve, even after a few days.
Photoallergy is a less common reaction that involves the body's immune system. As the skin is exposed to UVA rays, the body's immune system reacts to fight off the danger, resulting in rashes and skin irritations that appear like allergic reactions.
If you are currently taking antibiotics or a topical skincare medication, consult your doctor or pharmacist before spending time outdoors.
Biopsies are Essential
Learning the signs of skin cancer is helpful for early diagnosis. If you have new spots on the skin or moles that are discolored, abnormally shaped, painful, or bleeding, they must be addressed by a doctor immediately. Once your doctor examines these spots, a biopsy will most likely be recommended.
Thankfully, there are different types of biopsies available. From shaving off odd moles to making incisions to remove a section of your skin, your doctor will discuss which option is best for your needs.
Removing a section of your skin or a mole may seem frightening, but the biopsy will be an essential part of diagnosing cancer fast so skin cancer treatment can begin.
Skin cancer is a serious disease that requires proper understanding. With this guide and your dermatologist's help, you will learn a few essential facts regarding this deadly disease.