THE SUN AND YOUR SKIN: DERMATOLOGY CONSULTANTS CLEARS UP MYTHS, RUMORS AND THE JUST PLAIN WRONG
The month of May marks Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, serving as a good reminder for all of us to protect our skin from the sun. With endless online resources at our fingertips, we know it can be difficult to distinguish the truth when it comes to skin cancer and sun protection.
So, we decided to do a little fact-check.
Before you step outside today, check out our responses to common myths about melanoma, different skin types, skin cancer treatments and sunscreens.
MYTH: MELANOMA IS A LESS COMMON TYPE OF SKIN CANCER, SO I’M PROBABLY NOT AT RISK
Fact: Melanoma is deadly – and it can affect any age, race or gender. According to The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, melanoma causes more deaths in women ages 25-30 than any other cancer. In this year alone, an estimated 7,180 deaths will be caused by melanoma. While it can affect anyone, the risk of developing melanoma is higher in patients with a history of tanning bed use, who burn easily, have more than 50 moles or atypical moles, have a family history of melanoma, and in men over 50. Melanoma is most common on the back in men and legs in women.
Annual skin checks with a dermatologist are crucial in detecting melanoma, as it can often go symptomless and spread throughout the body if left untreated. It’s important to check yourself regularly for melanoma at home, too. To help us remember which features may be associated with melanoma, dermatologists recommend the ABCDE method: A (asymmetry), B (irregular border), C (color: changes in color, multiple colors within a spot, dark brown/black/red/blue color, etc.), D (diameter: greater than a pencil eraser, about 6 mm), and E (evolution: any spot changing over time). The more of these features present, the greater the likelihood of diagnosing melanoma.
MYTH: I HAVE A DARKER COMPLEXION, SO I DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT SKIN CANCER
Fact: Everyone is at risk for developing skin cancer and needs to protect their skin. While individuals with fair skin, light hair and blue eyes are at higher risk for skin cancer, we see skin cancer in patients of all backgrounds, skin colors and sun exposure history. Skin cancer is also often diagnosed later in darker skin types, making it more advanced – and potentially leading to worse outcomes. A licensed dermatologist or physician’s assistant has the eye, training and equipment needed to detect suspicious lesions in patients of all skin types.
MYTH: I CAN DO ALL MY SKIN CHECKS VIA TELEHEALTH – IT’S JUST SKIN-DEEP, RIGHT?
Fact: While Telehealth is great for many dermatological visits (and even some initial spot checks), we do not recommend virtual visits for full-body skin exams. With in-person visits, we can use tools like dermatoscopy, KOH preps, palpation and other techniques to evaluate the skin in a way that’s not possible via Telehealth.
MYTH: I APPLIED SUNSCREEN IN THE MORNING, SO I’M GOOD FOR THE REST OF THE DAY
Fact: Sunscreen should be applied every morning – regardless of the season or weather – and then reapplied every two hours when you’re outside or before you get in the car. We love brush-on powder sunscreens for on-the-go reapplications – and one of our favorites, ISDIN Mineral Brush SPF 50, is 20% off this month!
MYTH: I NEED MORE SUN EXPOSURE FOR VITAMIN D
Fact: It’s surprisingly easy to get the Vitamin D you need – even with sunscreen use. Vitamin D is accessible from a healthy diet and most people do not have a deficiency that requires additional sun exposure. It’s better to protect your skin from aging and skin cancer than worry about Vitamin D.
MYTH: SUN PROTECTION IS MORE IMPORTANT FOR OLDER PEOPLE
Fact: Wrong, wrong! Protecting your skin from the sun is necessary for all ages. Not only does it prevent premature aging, but it also can potentially save your life. It can be fun, too. Today, we’re seeing trends in SPF protection, such as glowy sunscreens, tinted sunscreens, sunscreens as makeup primers – and even glittery sunscreens for festivals. Sun protective clothing brands are producing better-looking protective clothing and swimwear, which allows people to feel good while staying protected.
PROTECT YOUR SKIN WITH THE HELP OF DERMATOLOGY CONSULTANTS
As we prepare for hotter days and summer beach trips, now is the perfect time to take control of your skin’s health. As a reward for protecting your skin this month, we’re offering 20% off all sunscreens via our online store.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to make sure your skin is healthy and cancer-free. Schedule your annual skin check with dermatologists and physician’s assistants you can trust at Dermatology Consultants.