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Ask Our Expert: Brown Spots: Are they sun damage or just age spots?

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

Ask Our Expert: Brown Spots:

 Q: Roxanne, I have brown spots on my face, arms and chest.  How do I know if they are caused from sun damage or if they are just age spots?

A: Lentigos, or lentigines are commonly referred to as brown spots, sun spots, liver spots or age spots.  They appear as flat spots in various shades of brown that appear on skin that has been over exposed to the sun. These spots can appear on the face, arms, shoulders, neck, chest, hands; anywhere the skin has been over-exposed to the sun. Typically, the lighter the skin and the more sun exposure one has, the greater accumulation or chance of accumulation of sun spots.

Melanocytes, which are cells that produce pigment in the skin are activated to produce more pigment (melanin) when you are exposed to ultraviolet rays. Because the symptoms of excessive sun damage are cumulative, these spots increase with age, hence the term “age spots.” They are more common in lighter skin types (Fitzpatrick 1-3), such as those who freckle and who burn easily but can appear in any skin type.

I recommend applying a medical-grade, physical sunblock such as Physical Defense by Castillo MD Skin Science, 365 days per year, to all skin that will be exposed.  Not only is this your best defense for future sun damage but  you may find that the brown spots that you have become lighter over time.

There are  treatments that can help to rid your skin of brown spots as well. CO2 Micro-Fractional Laser Resurfacing is typically an excellent option.  A series of Intense Pulse Light (IPL) treatments can also deliver very good  results.  Some chemical peels  can improve spots to some degree as well as skin bleaching or lightening agents like Advanced Lightening Complex or Spot Light. 

While sun spots themselves are not cancerous, if you have had enough lifetime sun exposure to develop brown spots, this may place you at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.  Therefore, it’s a good idea have your physician examine them for changes from time to time.

Warmly,

Roxanne Grace Hammond
Skincare & Laser Specialist
G. D. Castillo, M.D.
COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY http://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

 

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

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

“Dying” To Get A Tan

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

How many of you are “Dying” to get a tan?”

These facts were provided by The Skin Cancer Foundation: www.skincancer.org As I am a strong believer in the duty to make educated choices, I wanted to share these facts with you.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.

More than one million skin cancers are diagnosed annually.

Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer.

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.

About 65 percent of melanoma cases can be attributed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

Melanoma accounts for about three percent of skin cancer cases, but it causes more than 75 percent of skin cancer deaths.

One in 55 people will be diagnosed with melanoma during their lifetime.

One or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than double a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life.

A person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns at any age.

Frequent tanners using new high-pressure sunlamps may receive as much as 12 times the annual UVA dose compared to the dose they receive from sun exposure.

People who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma.

The average annual melanoma rate among Caucasians is about 22 cases per 100,000 people. In comparison, African Americans have an
incidence of one case per 100,000 people. However, the overall melanoma survival rate for African Americans is only 77 percent, versus 91
percent for Caucasians.

More than 20 Americans die each day from skin cancer, primarily melanoma.

One person dies of melanoma almost every hour (every 62 minutes).

Still “DYING” to get a tan???

Roxanne, Skincare & Laser Specialist

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), IL
309-662-0436 Bloomington, IL

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