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Skin Cancer Screenings: A Summer Must!

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The temps are heating up here in Charleston, SC, which means lots of fun in the sun! Before hitting the beach there are some facts you should know about skin cancer: when to get screened and what precautions to take to avoid getting cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. That being the case, it is important to know about the different types of skin cancer, as well as the preventative measures to decrease the chances of having skin cancer.

 

More than two million people in the United States each year are diagnosed with the most common types of skin cancer – basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. These types of skin cancer are easily detectable as alterations or changes in the skin occur. If alterations and changes are noticed quickly enough, they are promptly examined by a dermatologist who also performs a biopsy. Non-melanoma skin cancers, because they are easily detectable, are also easily curable.

 

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer; luckily, it is not as common as other types of skin cancer. Melanoma is potentially lethal, and new cases of malignant melanoma have been steadily increasing since 2005.

 

People with the following traits are more susceptible to skin cancer and should receive lifelong dermatologic surveillance as well as perform monthly self-exams:

  • A family history of melanoma and other skin cancers
  • Atypical moles (irregular borders, color variation, or are asymmetrical)
  • Skin that burns easily/fails to tan
  • Freckling, blue eyes or red hair
  • A history of blistering sunburns

 

The most preventable cause of skin cancer is the sun. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), adequately protecting one’s skin from the sun is an easy way to prevent skin cancer. Here’s how:

  • Avoid tanning beds. The same dangerous ultraviolet light from the sun is used by tanning beds.
  • Seek shade during the sun’s apex (10am – 2pm). If your shadow is shorter than you, get out of the sun.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses whenever possible.
  • Near sand, snow and water? Use caution, as those surfaces reflect and intensify light and can cause skin damage regardless of the temperature.
  • Wear sunscreen. Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen on your skin before sun exposure (Sun Protection Factor of 30 or higher). Reapply every two hours regardless of the weather.

 

Along with lifelong dermatologic surveillance, we may recommend that you undergo a skin cancer screening. This screening is a visual inspection of your skin, performed by a dermatologist. These screenings are performed before any symptoms are found, if something appears abnormal during the screening a biopsy will be taken. A pathologist will evaluate the biopsy and determine if the growth is benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).
To schedule a skin cancer screening appointment with Derm Clinics Charleston, contact us at (843) 795-7546.


Makeup & Sweat – Why It’s Important to Wash Your Face

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The daily environment takes a toll on your face’s skin, but what about when you add in other factors such as makeup and sweat? As dermatologists, we recommend you take the extra time to consider the skincare regimens needed to ensure a clean face at night. We have provided all the practices and tips you’ll need to know below.

Eliminating the use of daily makeup or avoiding the gym isn’t necessary. Simply take the right precautions to protect and cleanse your skin each night and after every workout.

Makeup

When it comes to makeup, the longer you wear it, the more time it has to cause damage. Especially right before bed, cleansing your face as soon as possible will help your skin stay clear. Facial skin is full of pores and very absorbent, so think ‘would I want this inside of me?’ when applying makeup. During sleep, your body goes into recovery mode and heals all the tiny damages you may have done throughout the day.

The best habit to get into is taking your makeup off as soon as you feel you don’t need to wear it any longer. When getting off work or going back home for the day, take a quick shower or wash your face makeup off. Makeup cleansing cloths are great for when you’re feeling lazy – a quick swipe and your makeup is off.

If you know you will be wearing makeup all day long,  you can prevent any damage by purchasing cosmetics that actually benefit your skin. Expensive makeup doesn’t necessarily mean high quality – finding products that benefit your skin can be found in a range of prices. Look for products with SPF so you get coverage & sun protection in one step.

For those with oily skin, avoid comedogenic ingredients like lanolins, isopropyl myristate and red cosmetic dyes. A disclaimer: buying ‘mineral makeup’ doesn’t mean it contains all-natural ingredients and still has the ability to irritate skin the same way non-mineral makeup can. Products with talc and bismuth tend to cause irritation and breakouts.

For more help on buying cosmetics that benefit your skin, visit our website or give us a call at 843-795-SKIN (7546).

Sweat

We’ve explained the perils of not washing off your makeup, but what about when you’re at the gym and wearing makeup? Not many males can attest to this, but women often visit the gym after work while still wearing makeup. First things first, carry a pack of cleansing cloths in your gym bag. Wiping your face clean before sweating will help you avoid breakouts or over-drying, and helps with the cleansing process post-workout.

In general, sweating is your body’s way of cooling itself by perspiring out toxins from the pores. There is a barrier created when you have makeup on, making it difficult for sweat to break through. It then gets stuck on the surface of your skin and creates a greasy mess that could lead to breakouts and dryness when sitting on your face.

Sweating is actually good for your skin and is a great way to maintain clean, healthy skin. It releases toxins and dirt that is clogged in your pores. In fact, sweat isn’t what actually has an odor, but it’s the hair and skin follicles that provide smell when they aren’t clean.

While perspiration helps clear that dirt, it is then left on your skin to help cool your body temperature. While you’re still cooling down, the sweat will lower your temperature until you reach a normal state. This is when it drys on your skin and can cause damage. All of the toxins and dirt now on your skin should be cleaned off as soon as possible.

In addition, wiping your face while sweating only pushes the sweat back into your pores. Avoid touching your face throughout exercising and then shower or wash your face immediately post-workout. Exfoliating is important to aid your skin’s rejuvenation process, but doing so too soon after a workout may damage sensitive skin. Intense scrubbing should wait until after your skin calms down from exercise and closer towards bedtime.

One last tip for you – moisturize after cleansing! Especially in Charleston’s summer heat, extra body perspiration can leave your skin dry, so slather on some lotion. And not just on your face,  but your whole body!

So, have you been washing your makeup off as soon as possible, and especially before a session at the gym? We sure hope you do now after reading this! Let us know your thoughts and leave a comment below.

 


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    Call Us: (843)795-7546 (SKIN)

    Or visit us at:
    Cross Creek Village
    325 Folly Road
    Suite 305
    Charleston, SC 29412