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The Dark Side of the Sun: Melanoma Prevention

Kenneth Sanders

Kenneth Sanders, MD

The month of May heralds the spring and, here in the south, eases us into summer. We think of sunny skies, warmer temperatures and activities that take us outdoors. Perhaps this was the reason May was selected as “Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month.” This might not be the best way to celebrate May but it certainly draws attention to the growing number of people who have or will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer. The culprit is over exposure to the sun or, to be more specific, ultraviolet radiation. If this sounds like something from a horror movie, it might as well be.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV radiation can also come from tanning booths or sunlamps. The most dangerous kind of skin cancer is called melanoma. According to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, there are more than 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed and 2.2 million people treated for the disease in the U.S. each year. Skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early. Symptoms of skin cancer include:

It is recommended that you use a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher as one important part of a complete sun protection regimen. Sunscreen alone is not enough, however. To protect yourself, follow these skin cancer prevention tips:

Besides the possibility of developing skin cancer, over-exposure to the sun causes photo-aging, the premature aging of the skin caused by repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) primarily from the sun, but also from artificial UV sources. “Photo” is derived the Greek word “phos” which means “light.” So, aging of the skin caused by light.

Aging is unavoidable. Over time, our skin thins and lines and wrinkles appear. Moles, scars, and birthmarks also tend to change as we age. Sun damage over the course of a lifetime worsens the aging skin. Although there are many anti-aging creams on the market, advanced signs of aging and sun damage sometimes require more invasive procedures, including the following:

Our Pure Skin Med Spa offers a variety of defenses for sun damage. SkinMedica Total Defense and Repair SPF in tinted, un-tinted and waterproof is an excellent product to start with. Schedule your consultation with us and get ahead of the sun’s damaging rays. If you’ve experienced skin cancer or know someone who has, you’d do just about anything to get rid of it. It is wicked and truly the “dark side” of the sun.

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