Let’s face it, we all love the sun! We yearn to bathe in its warm rays and prefer the way we look after it paints our face with a golden tan. However, we’d be fools to ignore some important facts about the dangers of exposing ourselves to the sun without protection, especially when 2 million people in the US alone are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. When we’re young we like to ignore a few very basic facts, we think that we’re invincible and nothing bad could ever happen to us. The truth is that repeated exposure to the sun over a number of years can bring with it a whole plethora of issues. These include premature skin aging, brown spots as well as non-cancerous and cancerous skin growths. But you may not care about premature aging; you may feel that when the time comes and those wrinkles show up on your skin that you’ll do all that it takes to erase them with medical rejuvenation procedures. Wrinkles though, are the last thing to worry about when there are more serous conditions to worry about from careless exposure to the sun. At ABAD we feel that it’s our responsibility to make you aware of the very things that you need to know about skin cancer, because it’s a diagnosis that can be easily prevented 99% of the time, just by taking the right precautions.
There are two main types of damaging ultraviolet sunlight: UVA and UVB. UVA rays are the ones that penetrate deeper into the skin and they damage the middle layer known as dermis. The dermis contains the tissue that keeps your skin stretchy, and if you damage it then it hastens the aging process of your skin. UVB rays are absorbed by the epidermis, which is the top layer of the skin, and it gives us that Sienna glow that we admire. When we overdo it, and burn our skin we also increase the risk of skin cancer. Melanin is the colored pigment in our skin, and when we expose our skin to the sun, more melanin is produced in order to protect the skin against UV rays. The problem here is that although melanin helps protect the skin, it does not prevent the more harmful effect of UV rays.
There’s no way to sugarcoat the facts and this is what we would like to prevent at all costs:
The first thing to know is that there are two categories of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma. What’s called basal cell carcinoma is usually not fatal; it’s when lesions develop on the skin and the age when this happens usually is people in their 40s. They tend to bleed easily but are treatable. Squamous cell carcinoma is non-melanoma cancer and it occurs when there’s sun damaged skin and it happens to people in their 50s. The spots look flat and red but gradually they become raised with scaly patches. Treatment involves surgery and radiation therapy. Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer and it starts to show its marks on women’s legs and on men’s backs. Most times, people start to notice them around their mid-40s; the spots look dark and flat or even raised and their shape is irregular. If theses spots are left untreated, then the cancer may spread to other parts of your body.
This is when you ask yourselves how can something as beautiful as the sun be responsible for so much unpleasantness, even tragedy? Under the same token we can ask ourselves how can the beautiful ocean drown or wreak havoc on people. The truth is that Mother Nature is to be revered yet treated with the utmost vigilance. Yes, we love the sun but there is plenty that we need to know about her, and lots more to do in order to enjoy her without worry.
We can’t say this enough times but, please, always protect your skin, always wear sunscreen but make sure that it’s a good brand that really does the job well. Also, adhere to proper use of sunscreen and reapply regularly otherwise it’s as if you’ve done absolutely nothing to protect your skin. It’s necessary to wear sunscreen even during the winter months, when you think that there are no harmful rays.
Keep your young ones protected, their skin is much more sensitive than yours and it’s a good habit to instill in them at this very young age in order to prevent long-term skin damage.
We also recommend wearing hats, those come in many shapes and designs and it’s a look that you should adopt for yourselves on a daily basis.
If you have a family history of skin cancer, and you have fair skin or many freckles, you have to take the extra precautions to keep yourselves protected from the sun. However, even people with darker skin can get sunburned.
Enjoying the sun does not necessarily mean baking in the sun, it’s enough that it’s warm outside, but seeking shade during peak hours of the sun (11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.) is advisable to all. Sometimes lying down on your towel in the shade feels just as good as when you’re right underneath the sun, it’s still warm, but now you have the added protection of shade. You can always apply a good quality bronzer to get the look you desire without risking sun-damaged skin. This also applies to people who have outside jobs, protect your skin at all times!
Always be aware of new growths on your skin, scan your body regularly looking for any abnormalities–early detection is key here and will save your life! Be vigilant when it comes to your body, there’s no room for vanity, and when a freckle or mole on your body has changed in shape or color or texture, there is no time to wait, you have to seek a doctor right away. Some form of skin cancer develops very quickly so time is of the essence.
The good news is that you can still put on that bikini and go to the beach, but this time don’t forget to apply your sunscreen, wear your hat and look for a shady spot for when it’s really hot!