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Archive for June, 2010

Safe Summer Skin

Summer is here in Florida which means more time out in the heat and sun.  In my last post, I shared a website that lists the safest sunscreens to use, after a study found that only 8% of sunscreens actually work.  It is important to use a sunscreen to help protect your skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays.   If you will be spending alot of time outdoors or even driving in the car, be sure to lather up in sunscreen and remember to re-apply often.

Many people know UVA/UVB rays are dangerous and may cause skin cancer but they never go to a dermatologist to have your skin examined for any potential moles that may lead to melanoma.  The Skin Cancer Foundation (http://www.skincancer.org)  gives you  guidelines and pictures to help you know what to look for when doing your own daily scan.  I want to encourage everyone to find a dermatologist and go atleast once a year for a skin check.    Be safe this summer and protect your skin.

Here are the basics for what to look for when scanning your skin:

Warning Signs: The ABCDEs of Melanoma

Moles, brown spots and growths on the skin are usually harmless — but not always. Anyone who has more than 100 moles is at greater risk for melanoma. The first signs can appear in one or more atypical moles. That’s why it’s so important to get to know your skin very well and to recognize any changes in the moles on your body. Look for the ABCDEs of melanoma, and if you see one or more, make an appointment with a physician immediately.

melanoma picture.jpg

Asymmetry

If you draw a line through this mole, the two halves will not match.

melanoma picture.jpg

Border

The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven. The edges may be scalloped or notched.

melanoma picture.jpg

Color

Having a variety of colors is another warning signal. A number of different shades of brown, tan or black could appear. A melanoma may also become red, blue or some other color.

melanoma picture.jpg

Diameter

Melanomas usually are larger in diameter than the size of the eraser on your pencil (1/4 inch or 6 mm), but they may sometimes be smaller when first detected.

melanoma picture.jpg

Evolving

Any change — in size, shape, color, elevation, or another trait, or any new symptom such as bleeding, itching or crusting — points to danger.

Prompt action is your best protection. The pictures below show atypical normal moles and melanomas.

Benign Malignant
Symmetrical mole picture.jpg melanoma picture.jpg Asymmetrical
Borders are even mole picture.jpg melanoma picture.jpg Borders are uneven
One shade mole picture.jpg melanoma picture.jpg Two or more shades
Smaller than 1/4 inch mole picture.jpg melanoma picture.jpg Larger than 1/4

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Memorial Day launched the summer season here in Florida and many spent the holiday at the pool or beach.  Like many, I visit the beach or pool whenever I can, lather on sunscreen, put on my hat, sunglasses  and relax, soaking up the suns rays feeling protected from the harmful UVB/UVA rays.  Upon reading a recent report that only 8% of sunscreens are recommended, I immediately went to look at the ingredients of my sunscreens.  The sunscreens I applied generously and often, had all the ingredients mentioned in the article.

So, what can I do so that I am still able to enjoy the outdoors during the day and protect myself from harmful ingredients and rays?  Luckily, Environmental Working Group (EWG), has done the work to test various sunscreens, rate their safety, and put together healthy sun tips.

Here are links to some informative articles where you can see how your sunscreen rates, which sunscreens are best, and tips for adults/children in the sun.

Sun Safety Tips

Report: Only 8% of sunscreens recommended

EWG’s 2010 Sunscreen Guide

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