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Deadly Decisions

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Surely by now, you have heard that there is lobbyist action petitioning to restrict teenage use of tanning beds. How do you feel about your teenager using a tanning bed? Would you allow it? Would you drive them to the appointment? Would you pay for their tanning package?  This is a hot topic of teen desires vs. parental responsibilities that is causing a lot of controversy.

I bring up this topic as Prom and graduation are almost here. As our beautiful girls prepare for the events they have been dreaming of, achieving that ideal appearance often means several trips to a tanning salon to give their skin the golden glow they desire. Unfortunately, more and more young women are getting more “color”  than they bargained for in the form of Melanoma – the deadliest form of skincancer today.

Since the days of CoCo Channel, we, as a culture, have been groomed to believe that tanned skin is beautiful skin. I would bet it is one of the longest-running, certainly the most deadly fashion trend to date. Tanning beds (or cancer beds as I often refer to them) have become intensely popular among teenagers and I have to believe that it is our duty as parents to not only protect them from harm’s way but to educate them on the risks of tanning so they are able to make informed decisions about their safety when they are on their own.  Alarming increases in diagnosed skin cancers among people under 30 who use tanning beds has caused organizations including the American Academy of Dermatology to lobby for laws limiting minor’s access to tanning beds.

At Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Center, too often Dr. Castillo or I will see a patient who is fearful of a suspicous spot or fighting a brutle battle with skin cancer.  The stories are always heart-breaking.  As a mother of two beautiful daughters who fill my house with their friends on a regular basis, it has become my mission to discuss the dangers of tanning bed use (and exposure to the sun’s UV radiation) with all of my daughter’s friends. The response that I have received from most of their friends has actually surprised me. I expected the typical teen “yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, but it won’t happen to me” response.  Instead, these teenage girls sat down with me, and they listened, like sponges.  (Now I know I just used the term “teenagers” and “listened” in the same sentence, so I will give you a minute to try to re-gather your composure and then we will move forward).  Ready?

Most of them had no idea that they could get cancer from tanning beds and certainly didn’t realize that it could take their life. The amount of misconception I heard about sun exposure and tanning beds was extensive to say the least. I think that is true of a lot of adults out there as well.  I’ve even gotten a few phones from my daughter’s friends that went something like “Roxanne, I’m at Walgreens buying a sunscreen.  There are so many, can you help me pick out the right one?” Now, unfortunately one of these phone calls came in 2 hours past my bedtime… but that’s a teen for you, right?

So I am blogging today to encourage you to become educated on all the recent updates and valid studies surrounding the dangers of tanning beds and UV radiation and to share your knowledge or even this blog with anyone in your life who may be using a tanning bed.  You can find proven informaiton at sites like http://www.skincancer.org/   and http://www.cancer.org/  You never know when this information could save the life of someone you love. Let me arm you with a few proven statistics to get started.

Did you know your risk of melanoma increases by 75% when you use a tanning bed before the age of 30? According to the American Skin Cancer Foundation, it also increases your risk of being diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma by 2 ½ times and makes you 1 ½ times more likely to be diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer shifted indoor tanning devices to the highest cancer risk category: “carcinogenic to humans.”  That means time spent is a tanning bed is as dangerous as Arsenic.  Would you allow someone you love to knowingly expose themselves to arsenic?

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the USA today.  According to the American Skin Cancer Foundation, there are more than 3.5 million skin cancers and  two million NEW skin cancer cases diagnoses annually.  One in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. Just to give you an idea of the rapid increase in skin cancer diagnoses today, I wrote an article in March of 2009, titled “One Million Reasons to Protect Your Children.” https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com/blog/?p=31 Just three short years later, it would have to be titled TWO Million Reasons to Protect Your Children! That is a pretty sobering thought, isn’t it?

There are now good alternative out there that can satisify the needs of both teens and parents.  Tanning lotions and spray tans can give the popular sun kissed look your teen desires while providing peace of mind that they are not being exposured to life-threatening UV radiation.

Below are three other past blog articles that will give you more information about UV radiation and the damage it can cause.

 

https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com/blog/?p=238 – Dying to get a Tan

https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com/blog/?p=322  – Top 5 reasons for avoiding Sunblock

https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com/blog/?p=320  – Melanoma Are you at risk

 

Sincerely,

Roxanne Hammond, RMA

Skincare and Laser Specialist

G. D. Castillo, M.D.

COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY
https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/DrCastilloCosmeticPlasticSurgery

800-252-7123 (within IL)

217-359-7508 Savoy (Champaign-Urbana)

309-662-0436 Bloomington

Roxanne, Skincare & Laser Specialist

 

 

 

Protect Children From The Sun

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Researchers estimate over ONE MILLION NEW CASES of skin cancer will be reports this year alone!

Did you know research has shown two or more sunburns during childhood significantly increases the chance of developing skin cancer during your child’s life time? By taking time to learn more about sun-safety, you will be able to teach your family safe-sun habits that will last them a lifetime. You could even save a life!

Invasive melanoma is malignant, often fatal form of skin cancer.

According to the research of Brooke Rutledge Seckel, M.D., Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, in 1935, Americans had a 1 in 1,500 chance of developing invasive melanoma, by the 1980, the rate increased to 1 in 250 and 1 in 74 by 2001. That number is estimated to be 1 in every 50 Americans by 2010!

Sun rays are ionizing radiation, no different than the radiation of an atomic blast or a cobalt 60 therapy found in cancer treatment centers. The sun is the number one cause of skin cancer (melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma) in the United States. Even though most people who are diagnosed with skin cancer are adults, skin cancer affects children as well. The sun is also responsible for reducing immune responses and many long-lasting aging effects such as lines, wrinkles, loss of collagen & elasticity, brown spots, freckles & broken spider veins.

Using sun protection any time your child may be exposed to the sun is a must. It will prevent sun damage and reduce the risk of skin cancers and premature aging. Sunburns hurt. They can cause fever, swelling, blisters and pigmentation changes. Sunscreens are meant to be used as a source of protection, not as a reason to stay in the sun for a longer period of time.   Sunscreens are not just for those with pale skin who burn in the sun. Sun protection is a must no matter what color your skin is. Remember, tanned skin is damaged skin!

Later this week we will talk about sunblock and how Cosmetic Plastic Surgery can help you in the fight against sun damage.

Roxanne, Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Skin Restoration and Laser Institute

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

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

Buyer Beware: Billboard of Half Truths

Friday, November 20th, 2009

How many of you have seen the billboards or other material that states “Vitamin D from Tanning Beds and Sunshine can reduce your risk of Breast Cancer by 75%”? It even displays a pink ribbon that mimics the pink ribbon used by the American Breast Cancer Association. Look closely…DO NOT BE FOOLED.  Though similar, it is not the same pink ribbon of support used by the American Breast Cancer Association, nor was the ABCA in support or even aware of this marketing campaign when I called them. The American Breast Cancer Association doesn’t make a recommendation to use a tanning bed or sun bathe. Touting tanning as a measure to prevent breast cancer is not only scientifically unfounded by peer review, but is incredibly self-defeating to those who heed the tanning industries misleading advise.

Those involved in this marketing campaign, extracted theories from on-going studies that report that there is some link between Vitamin D Deficiency and certain cancers such as breast cancer, along with other disorders including but not limited to depression, autism, and osteoporosis and so on.  Please understand these studies have not concluded that Vitamin D Deficiency is a cause of illnesses such as breast cancer.  They are only stating that there is evidence that those with certain illnesses are often also Vitamin D deficient. They then crossed that information with the fact that one way to increase vitamin D is through exposure to sunlight or a tanning bed and came up with an unconscionable advertisement.

Vitamin D levels can be increased through various options.  Some are safe.  Some are not.  Some options have a positive effect on the body in general while other options are scientifically proven carcinogens.  I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t make much sense to me to expect to lessen my chance of developing breast cancer by using a method (tanning) that is proven to cause other forms of cancer such as deadly skin cancers, cancers of the eye, other health issues and pre-mature aging (wrinkles, brown spots, broken blood vessels, sagging, discolored skin).  How about you?

The safe options to increase Vitamin D levels include:

  1. Oral calcium supplements that include vitamin D.
  2. Diet – according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (NIH) including salmon, tuna, beef liver, eggs, orange juice, milk, yogurt, and some cereals in your diet will increase your vitamin D intake naturally.

Options to increase vitamin D that are proven to cause cancer and pre-mature aging:

  1. UV radiation from the sun
  2. UV radiation from tanning beds

Earlier this summer, Lancet Oncology announced that the rating on tanning beds has been moved from a “probable” cause of skin cancer to a “DEFINATE” cause of skin cancer.  This means that tanning beds are now a PROVEN carcinogen, just like cigarettes / nicotine.  UV radiation not only makes you look “old” before you time, it can KILL you.

According to statistics provided by Dr. Brooke Rutleadge Seckel, Assistant Professor of Surgery Harvard Medical School, in 1935, Americans had a 1 in 1500 risk of developing invasive melanoma in their lifetime.  By 2001 that number increased to 1 in 74.  Today, it is 1 in 50!  Over ONE MILLION new cases of squamous and basal cell skin cancers will be diagnosed this year along with more than 60,000 cases of Melanoma (the deadliest of skin cancers).

I understand that many people are convinced that in order for their skin to look attractive, it must be tan, have “some color.”  But, I think you’ll have to agree that no matter how tan your skin is, there is nothing SEXY about a cancerous lesion on your face! Healthy, radiant skin of any color is beautiful skin.  This means skin that is soft, supple, well hydrated and free of discolorations such as brown spots, yellowing, and broken vessels. One can have a nice bone structure, a bright smile, a bubbly personality yet nothing is as salient as glowing, undamaged skin.

I am no way judging tanning salon owners for their choice of business or those whom choose to tan.  Every adult has the right to make that choice.  I am however, objecting to the attempt to mislead the public for an industries own growth.  Every adult has the right to freedom of choice.  I just think you also have the duty to be correctly informed of the benefits and consequences of any choice.  I believe it to be a sad day in America when those affiliated with this campaign and industry (tanning) are willing to show such little regard for human health…for human life…

Roxanne, Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Clinic

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