During the much longed-for summer months, people work on their tans. While enjoying a richer skin tone now, tanners take huge risks for premature aging and skin cancer.
Sun and artificial tanning
It's what we use to get those tans. But, did you know that when you tan, you actually burn the top layer (epidermis) of your skin and damage your DNA, too?
According to Live Science, DNA damage mutates normal skin cells into cancer cells. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common kinds of skin cancer. Malignant melanoma is the most deadly skin cancer as it easily metastasizes to major body organs. About one-third of melanoma cases in the US kill their sufferers annually, says The Skin Cancer Foundation.
Unfortunately, artificial tanning is just as dangerous as sitting in the sun. Intermittent sun exposure or occasional tanning in the sun or tanning beds are harmful, too. Damage to the skin is cumulative, and both kinds of ultraviolet radiation (there are UV-A and UV-B rays) breakdown your skin's DNA over time. Further, UV-B harms your skin's natural elasticity normally provided by a protein called collagen.
Don't tan: protect
To protect your skin, avoid sunburns, intentional tanning and excessive day to day sun exposure with these strategies from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD):
- Cover up any exposed skin (face, arms, legs, ears) with a broad-brimmed hat, long-sleeves and other sun-protective clothing.
- Use sunscreen lotion--SPF 30 or higher--on all exposed skin, and re-apply every two hours or whenever you sweat it off or swim.
- Stay indoors or in the shade from 10 am to 2 pm.
Also, all adults, particularly those 40 or older, should see a dermatologist for an annual skin exam. Do a careful self-exam once a month at home, looking for changes in the color, size, and shape of existing spots or moles. Report changes to your skin doctor as well as any sore which does not heal in a week or so.
It's your skin
Don't sacrifice its health for a little fashionable color. Tanning really is bad for you. Find healthy ways to enjoy the summer months and that wonderful sun. Your skin and your overall health will be better for your efforts.
Wondering what’s causing those itchy red spots and whether you should see a dermatologist about your rash? Most rashes are harmless and usually go away on their own; however, some rashes may require further treatment. Here are some of the different kinds of rashes and how they are treated,
Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema causes a red itchy and weepy rash to develop. While eczema can develop just about anywhere on the body it is more common on the elbows, face, neck, and ankles. It’s important to recognize triggers (e.g. dry skin; pet dander; household cleaners) to reduce flare-ups.
Over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines can be used to manage flare-ups; however, you may want to turn to a dermatologist for steroid creams, light therapy, and other treatment options to better manage your eczema.
Has your child developed an intensely itchy rash all over their body and face? If they haven’t been vaccinated against chickenpox than this viral infection may be to blame for these insanely itchy spots. Chickenpox is a highly contagious infection that appears most often in school-age children. The rash may itch and ooze for a couple of days before crusting over.
It usually takes about a week for a chickenpox rash to go away. If you suspect that your child might have chickenpox it’s important that you see a doctor as soon as possible. While the infection will just need to run its course there are ways to ease symptoms at home through special ointments, creams, and soothing oatmeal baths.
Hives or urticaria causes red itchy welts to appear. These flat bumps can be extremely itchy and may continue to disappear and appear over the course of several hours. Most cases of hives usually go away within 12 hours. Stress, drugs, food allergies, insect stings, and bites, and certain infections can also trigger hives.
While most acute cases of hives will go away, if you are dealing with symptoms that last more than six weeks or are accompanied by trouble breathing, facial swelling or other signs of a serious allergic reaction it’s important that you see a doctor immediately.
This is another common and harmless rash that appears during those hot, humid days. A heat rash will usually appear suddenly and is characterized as a cluster of red, pimple-like bumps. They can appear anywhere on the face or body but are most often found on the arms, chest, or groin. Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine may help manage the itching. It’s also important to find a cooler environment and to wear lightweight clothes with breathable fabrics.
Notice a red, burning scaly rash between your toes? If so, this could be a fungal infection known as athlete’s foot. There are over-the-counter antifungal creams that can be applied directly to the infection to kill the fungus. If over-the-counter antifungal medications aren’t providing you with relief or if you’re unsure whether you have athlete’s foot it’s important that you see a dermatologist.
If you are dealing with a painful, widespread, or persistent rash it may be time to see your dermatologist to find out what’s going on. If in doubt, give your doctor a call. Based on your symptoms we can determine whether or not you should come into the office.
Getting a facial can certainly feel like a luxurious, relaxing, and pampering experience but did you know that a facial could also provide your skin with some amazing health benefits? Not only does turning to a dermatologist ensure that you get quality and comprehensive care to treat everything from sun damage to acne, but also a dermatologist has the knowledge, skills, and tools to be able to provide customized facials that can target and treat common skin problems.
A facial offers the skin a variety of benefits including:
- Deep cleaning
- Hydration and moisturizing
A facial can also be tailored to your skin type and the concerns or dermatological issues you are worried about. A facial can be used to treat:
- Redness and uneven skin tone
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Dry, dull and flaky skin
- Acne-prone skin
- Sun damage
- Enlarged pores
One facial won’t be able to address all skin issues you may have, but our dermatological team can work with you to create a customized facial and treatment plan that will be able to treat any and all problems you’re concerned about.
The products that we use during your facial will also depend on the results you’re hoping to achieve. For example, certain enzyme peels and products with glycolic acid can help to remove dead skin cells to produce fresh, radiant skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. If you have questions about the different products we use and their ingredients, or if you have any allergies, it’s important to discuss this first with your skin doctor.
Getting regular facials can be a great way to keep skin looking and feeling its best, and it should be a normal part of most people’s skincare routines. Along with keeping skin clean and hydrated, facials can also target problem areas when they arise. Have questions about facials? Ask your dermatologist today.
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