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Excuse Busters! The Top 5 Reasons For Not Using Sunblock

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Excuse Busters!

As Melanoma month comes to a close, I thought it would be appropriate to review the top five most common reasons for not using sunblock.

1.     “I just want to get a little color first”:

Keep in mind that any color changes in the skin, tan or red caused by UV radiation is skin damage.  No exceptions.  This includes color changes created in tanning beds.  UVA rays from both sun exposure and tanning beds will speed up your aging-process. Many of the patients at Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Clinic achieve “a little color” by using one of the following:

  • Glo Mineral Sun Kissed or Sunlight Mineral bronzer
  • Glo Mineral Luster Brick
  • Spray tan

2.     “I don’t need to use sunblock because I have dark skin”:

Just because your skin is dark or does not “burn”, does not mean your skin is not damaged by the sun.  It just means that the dark color of your skin conceals the visual signs of damage for a longer period of time than Caucasian skin.  Even though it is true that the number of Caucasians diagnosed with melanoma is higher, be aware that African Americans have a lower survival rate because dark skin shows signs of damage much later.  By the time they are diagnosed with melanoma, it is often in an advanced stage.  It is common to see hyper-pigmentation or sometimes hypo-pigmentation in unprotected skin of color.  Over the years, Dr. Castillo has seen a number of African American patients with dark brown blotches on their skin that could have been prevented by simply applying sunblock on a daily basis.

3.     “I want to make sure I get enough Vitamin D to avoid breast cancer and other diseases”:

Don’t be misled by the plethora of unclear information surrounding the studies regarding insufficient levels of vitamin D in relation to breast cancer and other diseases.  Let’s be clear about a few known facts.

  • Yes, tanning beds were officially named as a carcinogen (causes cancer) in 2009.
  • Yes, UVA radiation is found in tanning beds.
  • Yes, UVA radiation produces Vitamin D.
  • Yes, UVA radiation causes cancer, speeds up your aging process, creates wrinkles, brown spots and spider veins.
  • NO, using a tanning bed in hopes of preventing breast cancer is not a safe, effective or healthy choice.

Indeed, some research has indicated that in patients with breast cancer, a number of them were also vitamin D deficient.  However, the study does not indicate that Vitamin D deficiency is the cause of breast cancer by any means.  It just indicates that some individuals with breast cancer, diabetes, or heart disease are also Vitamin D deficient.

The tanning industry has inhumanly used these studies to instill fear into families whose members have been diagnosed with breast cancer, diabetes and heart disease for the benefit of their industry.  Strangely, their “public service” message about preventing breast cancer by increasing your vitamin D production thru the use of a tanning bed never mentions that as of 2009, tanning beds are now officially listed as a carcinogen (causes cancer!) Surely it must have been as over site on their part, right?

I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t seem like exposing yourself to something we KNOW causes cancer in hopes of decreasing your chances for getting cancer would make a lot of sense.  Observing as the tanning industry is trying to push this unproven, untrue message makes me think that skin may not be the only thing getting fried in the tanning beds.  The truth is that most of us get enough Vitamin D walking to and from our vehicles, walking the dog, just living life.  And for those who need to increase your Vitamin D intake, Vitamin D from foods and supplements are a SAFE, EFFECTIVE way to achieve that without exposing your body to a known carcinogen.

4.     “I’ll be inside all day”:

“Remember that a significant amount of UVA radiation penetrates clear glass and UVA rays are of a consistent strength year-round, rain or shine. UVA rays will penetrate both car and house windows. Some Fluorescent lights even emit low levels of UV rays.  Single envelop, corkscrew shaped, compact bulbs emit the most UV radiation.  If you select the double envelop bulbs, they will provide an extra layer of protection.  Your UVA/UVB broad-spectrum sunblock will protect you both outdoors and indoors and should be applied every day as part of your daily skincare routine.

5.     “Sunscreens irritates my skin”:

Avoid using a chemical sun screen. Most often it is a chemical ingredient in the sunscreen that causes irritation.  At Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Clinic, we recommend trying a UVA/UVB broad-spectrum physical sunblock such as medical grade Tisilc with Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide.  Both Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide are physical sun blockers. Physical sunblocks are less likely to get absorbed by the skin than one of the chemical sun block ingredients.

If you would to take a proactive role in your aging process and the prevention of skin cancer or would like more information on this topic, call our Savoy (Champaign-Urbana area) office at 217-359-7508 or our Bloomington office at 309-662-0436.

Roxanne Hammond

Roxanne Hammond, RMA
Skincare and Laser Specialist
G. D. Castillo, M.D.
COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY
Become a Facebook Fan of CPS @  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cosmetic-Plastic-Surgery/65943304419
https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com
800-252-7123 (within IL)
217-359-7508 Savoy (Champaign-Urbana)
309-662-0436 Bloomington

Melanoma – Are You At Risk?

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

 

Are you at risk?

May is National Melanoma Awareness month.  Did you know that Melanoma takes more lives than any other skin disease?  Do you think you are at risk for this life-threatening skin cancer? Actually, anyone who is over-exposed to sunlight or UV radiation is at risk for melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.

Melanoma manifests in the pigment producing cells of the skin called melanocytes.  The purpose of melanocytes is to protect the skin from harmful UV light from the sun and tanning devices.  Because UV radiation reduces DNA’s ability to repair itself, when the skin becomes over-exposed to UV light, it can cause melanocytes to grow abnormally and develop into skin cancer.

Some people have a higher risk of getting melanoma than others. Did you know that even dark-skinned people and those who tan without burning can get melanoma?

Risk factors for melanoma sited by Mayo Clinic:

  • Fair skin: Having less pigment (melanin) in your skin means you have less protection from damaging UV radiation. If you have blond or red hair, light-colored eyes, and you freckle or sunburn easily, you’re more likely to develop melanoma than is someone with a darker complexion. But melanoma can develop in people with skin of color.
  • A history of sunburn: One or more severe, blistering sunburns as a child or teenager can increase your risk of melanoma as an adult.
  • Excessive ultraviolet (UV) light exposure: Exposure to UV radiation, which comes from the sun and from tanning beds, can increase the risk of skin cancer, including melanoma.
  • Living closer to the equator or at a higher elevation: People living closer to the earth’s equator, where the sun’s rays are more direct, experience higher amounts of UV radiation, as compared with those living in higher latitudes. In addition, if you live at a high elevation you’re exposed to more UV radiation.
  • Having many moles or unusual moles: Having more than 50 ordinary moles on your body indicates an increased risk of melanoma: Also, having an unusual type of mole increases the risk of melanoma. Known medically as dysplastic nevi, these tend to be larger (greater than 1/5 inch or 5 millimeters) than normal moles and have irregular borders and a mixture of colors.
  • A family history of melanoma: If a close relative, such as a parent, child or sibling, has had melanoma, you have a greater chance of developing it too.
  • Weakened immune system: People with weakened immune systems have an increased risk of skin cancer. This includes people who have HIV/AIDS and those who have undergone organ transplants.

Though Melanoma is the deadliest of skin cancers, the rate for survival significantly improves with early detection. It is important to become familiar with the appearance of your freckles, moles, spots and other skin markings so that you are able to identify changes should they occur.  During your self-examination, watch for changes in the size, texture, or color of moles, freckles or spots,  shiny pink or red lesions that appear suddenly or slowly grow in clusters, or a sore that does not heal.  A spot or growth that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, fade, or bleed can also be a warning sign that will require a visit to your dermatologist.

Through-out the year there are free skin cancer screenings available through the American Academy of Dermatology.  Information on these local screenings can be found at www.aad.org/public/exams/screenings/index.html.

To reduce your chances of developing skin cancer, Dr. Castillo, Medical Director of Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Clinic suggests following these simple sun safety rules:

  • Sun rays are the strongest between the hours of 10 AM – 4 PM, avoid exposing your skin during these times whenever possible.
  • Practice the Australian slogan – “SLIP, SLOP, SLAP & WRAP” – slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat and wrap-around sunglasses.
  • Choose a sunscreen that is labeled “broad-spectrum” UVA/AVB protection. The ingredient label should list titanium dioxide or micronized zinc oxide, 4% of higher and an SPF of 45 or higher.
  • Most rays can penetrate through the clouds, so use sunscreen every day of the year, even on cloudy days.
  • Re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours, while exposed to the sun.
  • UVA rays are highly present all year, even on snowy or cloudy days. These rays penetrate deeper into the skin than UVB rays. Therefore, UVA rays may not give us the signal (red, tanned skin…) that we have been over-exposed to the sun. Remember, UVA rays can penetrate car windows and loose woven clothing as well. It is important to use sunscreens on exposed skin all year round.
  • Keep skin well hydrated by drinking plenty of water and using quality moisturizing skin care products. Dry skin is more easily affected by the sun.

For Children Under One Year Of Age:

  • Babies need extra protection from the sun, even if they have naturally dark skin.
  • Keep them out of direct sun light; use shaded areas, an umbrella, or stroller canopy.
  • Dress them in light weight clothing that covers the whole body. Use a wide brim hat to protect their ears and face.
  • When applying a sunscreen, apply a small amount to a limited area and watch for a reaction before continuing to apply it all over an infant. Choosing a physical sun block with titanium dioxide or micronized zinc oxide, rather than a chemical sunscreen may help to avoid a skin reaction.

As the Medical Skincare and Laser Specialist for Cosmetic Plastic Surgery and Skin Restoration Center, I am available to answer any additional questions regarding sun-protection you may have. You may contact me at both our Savoy (Champaign-Urbana area) and Bloomington, Illinois locations.

Savoy location at 217-359-7508
Bloomington location at 309-662-0436

Roxanne Hammond, RMA
Skincare and Laser Specialist
G. D. Castillo, M.D.
COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY
Become a Facebook Fan of CPS @  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cosmetic-Plastic-Surgery/65943304419
https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com
800-252-7123 (within IL)
217-359-7508 Savoy (Champaign-Urbana)
309-662-0436 Bloomington