In my teens, I LOVED to lay out in the sun. I’d slather on the baby oil and squeeze lemon juice in my hair. Now, in my early 40s, I have yearly skin checks and use all kinds of skin care to reverse sun damage and protect my skin.
Recently a friend of mine was diagnosed with melanoma. In awareness of Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, I’d like to share her story, especially what she’s learned from her experience. During hot yoga, Lisa’s skin became irritated and she noticed a blister that wasn’t healing. She went to her dermatologist who referred her to another dermatologist specializing in Mohs micrographic surgery for the treatment of skin cancer. Mohs micrographic surgery is considered the most effective technique for treating many basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), the two most common types of skin cancer. The procedure is done in stages where thin layers of cancer-containing skin are progressively removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains. Lisa’s skin is now cancer free.
What Lisa wants to share about her experience with melanoma in order to keep your skin safe:
- Detection is critical. Skin cancer can often be found early when it is most likely to be cured. Go to the dermatologist for a skin check once a year, and if you have something on your skin that looks suspicious or doesn’t heal, go to the doctor.
- Know that you will be okay. Your dermatologist will find and remove anything harmful on your skin. There are great skins professionals in Austin and amazing medical research on skin and skin cancers.
- Limit sugar. Overall, sugar just isn’t good for your skin and there’s research that suggests it can feed cancerous cells.
A friend of mine is an esthetician and believes in natural skincare, and shared a few recommendations. First and foremost, use sunscreen! Hold off on any chemical peels, use of retinol or other harsh exfoliates as the sun’s harmful rays make your skin more susceptible during summertime. To prevent breakouts from sweating and the use of extra sunscreen, switch to different cleanser in the summer. Also, consider using a toner that contains salicylic acid (and apply it all the way down to your chest).
Best sunscreens for kids
It’s no surprise that sun exposure as a child and teenager is linked to melanoma. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released their latest sunscreen ranking. Included in their report are the best (and worst) sunscreens. One of my favorite (and proven) sunscreens for my son’s sensitive and light skin is one the list: Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen. You can go to EWG’s site and app for a list of the safest and least safe options for your family.
Did you know?
There are common foods that help with sun-protection! Green tea, pomegranates (and pomegranate powder), tomatoes, guavas and…chocolate (!) to name a few.