Skin Cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million cases in over 2 million are diagnosed annually; with current studies estimate 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer within their lifetime. Receiving too much exposure to sunlight is usually the cause for skin cancer and these increasing rates of diagnosis. Sunlight contains both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. These rays (UVA/UVB) are what accelerate the skin aging process, which in turn may cause skin cancer. It is important to protect your skin from both types of UV rays. Sun protection involves seeking shade, wearing sun protective clothing and wearing sunscreen. Using a sunscreen that is broad-spectrum, meaning it protects against UVA and UVB, is considered the best protection. Your sunscreeen should also be water-resistant and have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Apply your sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours if you are outside for prolonged periods of time to ensure proper coverage and protection.
Did you know that May is Melanoma Awareness Month?
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. If found and treated early it can almost always be cured. If you have freckles or moles you should regularly exam your skin to check for changes. Be sure to select the right sunscreen and actually use it when you go outdoors, even on overcast days or for short periods of time. Let’s work hard to prevent skin cancer by encouraging early detection, and better yet, prevention.
Chemical vs. Physical Sunscreen
There are 2 main types of sunscreens: physical and chemical. Physical sunscreens contain zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both. Products that contain these ingredients have tiny metal particles suspended within them to deflect sunlight away from the skin. Physical sunscreens are naturally broad-spectrum causing less irritation, making this a good choice for people with sensitive skin. They are also safe for infants and small children. Since the physical sunscreen particles sit on the surface of the skin, they are less water-resistant and their usage can give the skin a pale appearance.
Chemical sunscreens contain substances that prevent UV light from entering the skin, but they break down as they absorb the sun’s energy. Chemicals that block UVA include avobenzone and ecamsule. Chemicals that block UVB include, but are not limited to, PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid), padimate O, octinoxate, octisalate, homosalate, and oxybenzone. Chemical sunscreens also absorb into the top layers of the skin making them more water-resistant and sweat-resistant than physical sunscreens. Most chemical sunscreens contain a combination of active ingredients to achieve broad-spectrum protection and many products contain both physical and chemical blocking agents. It is important to read labels closely to ensure that your sunscreen provides ample protection.
Wearing sunscreen is one way to prevent skin cancer, but there are many other options that can also keep you protected. The sun is the hottest between 10 AM and 4 PM, so make sure you seek the shade during those hours. If you have to be outside between these peak hours take the necessary steps to keep yourself protected. Wear a broad rimmed hat, UV blocking sunglasses and clothing; as well as an appropriate amount of sunscreen for all exposed areas of your body. A rule of thumb is about 1 ounce, or enough to fill a shot glass. Make sure to reapply every 2 hours and immediately after swimming and sweating, this will ensure a consistent amount of sum protection throughout the day.
Most sunscreens are listed with an expiration date indicating when the sunscreen is no longer effective. If no expiration date is listed, the product will be good for 3 years after the purchase date. As soon as the product has been purchased, write the date on the bottle to make sure it is not used after the 3 year mark. If there has been any change in color, or consistency, the sunscreen may or may not be effective and it should be thrown away. Also try and keep your product out of the sun and away from high temperatures, as this can also affect its efficacy. However, if a sunscreen is used properly, applied daily and at the every 2 hour mark, as well as, after swimming and sweating, then the product should only last a couple of months.
The daily use of sunscreen has the ability to cut the incidence of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, in half. It is well known how important sunscreen is to our health, but other factors can play a part in skin cancer prevention as well.
A multitude of studies have proven that there is a high correlation between tanning bed use and skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology and medical professionals have strongly advised against tanning beds for many years. Tanning beds emit UVA and UVB rays, both of which cause damage to the skin. They can produce UV levels of up to 100 times what you would normally get from the sun. Repeated exposure to these harmful rays is what not only prematurely ages the skin but also raises the risk of skin cancer. The risk of getting melanoma is increased by 87% for those individuals who start using tanning beds before the age of 35. Unfortunately, younger individuals like adolescents and teenagers cannot see the damage done by tanning beds since this process takes repeated exposure. In addition, they oftentimes have a mentality that focuses on the immediate gratification of having a tan now instead of considering future risks and consequences. This should be worrisome for any friend or family member of a young person that regularly uses a tanning bed. Some people argue that the body needs Vitamin D, which is normally provided by sunlight and that tanning beds are a good source of this vitamin. This argument has no merit, especially for those who live in the southern part of the United States, as we absorb enough Vitamin D from our daily activities that take us outdoors (even for short periods of time). A healthy diet and oral vitamin supplements are a much safer way of absorbing additional amounts of Vitamin D. A tan is a response to injury: our skin cells respond to the damage done from UV rays by producing more pigment, giving our skin a tanned look. Trying to get a base tan before going to the beach or a big event is not a safe tan, as our skin is trying to repair itself. Anyone who has used a tanning bed should discontinue their use and see a dermatologist for a full examination. Anyone who has an unusual looking mole, scaly patch or spot on the skin that will not heal, should also seek physician attention as skin cancers are not always obvious to the average person.
Each person responds to the sun differently. The Fitzpatrick Skin Type is a skin classification that was first developed in 1975 by Thomas Fitzpatrick, MD of Harvard Medical School. He designed a skin classification range from fair (type I) to very dark (Type VI). Take the Skin Type Quiz, and search for your skin type for advice based on how your skin type may react to the sun.
At Carolina Aesthetics, you can find a wide range of sunscreen products containing physical and/or chemical ingredients, Whether you prefer a lotion, cream, spray, or powder(yes, there is a powder sunscreen!), we have a sunscreen product that is right for you. Schedule a free skincare consultation by calling (854) 233-8088 today.
Journee: A multi-functional moisturizer with a broad-spectrum SPF of 30, containing active ingredients Octinoxate and Zinc Oxide. Journee is great for all skin types. It contains an anti-oxidant blend of polyphenol-rich Green Tea extract, Vitamins C and E and Melanin to help prevent against daily environmental stress. Green Tea extract is useful in helping soothe irritation and redness in the skin. This moisturizer also contains Hyaluronic Acid to help provide skin hydration and PSP for reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
Intellishade: Available in 2 finishes, Matte and Original, this tinted moisturizer fits any skin type and skin tone. Not only does it have anti-aging peptides, but it also is a broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protected sunscreen with an SPF of 45. A micronized form of zinc oxide delivers maximum protection while maintaining a weightless feel. The Matte finish works great for normal to oily skin types, while the Original is perfect for normal to dry skin types.
Multi-Protection: This oil-free lightweight anti-aging moisturizer hydrates and protects the skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays. Containing active ingredients Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octinoxate and Octisalate, the Multi-Protection is a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 50. It also contains a strong blend of antioxidants, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles using forms of peptides. Multi-Protection is for all skin types and also a favorite among our gentlemen clients.
Sheer Physical Sunscreen: The Sheer Physical Sunscreen contains active ingredient Zinc Oxide, making it a physical blocking sunscreen. This broad-spectrum oil free sunscreen has an SPF of 50+, and works with all skin types. Not only is it perfect for every day wear, but is a great product for post-procedures such as chemical peels and lasers. Green tea extract has been added to aid in the controlling of redness and irritation.
Complete Sunscreen: The Complete Sunscreen is a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 50+. Active ingredients include Octinoxate, Octisalate, Homosalate, Oxybenzone and Zinc Oxide. This sunscreen contains green tea extract to help control redness and irritation, as well as soothe sunburn. Normal to dry skin types do best with this product.
Sheer Sunscreen: This sunscreen is a broad-spectrum, oil free, chemical block sunscreen with an SPF of 50+. Active ingredients include Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate and Oxybenzone. Sheer Sunscreen does contain green tea extracts, helping to soothe redness and irritation. The Sheer Sunscreen is very light and comes with a dropper, making it perfect to add into a daily moisturizer that does not already contain an SPF. A favorite among normal to oily skin types.
Sheer Physical Sunscreen: The Sheer Physical Sunscreen is a spray sunscreen, perfect for the body but may also be used on the face and works best with normal to oily skin types. Containing active ingredient zinc oxide, this broad-spectrum sunscreen has an SPF of 50+, and is oil free.
Oil Free Moisturizing Sunscreen: This sunscreen is an oil free sunscreen with an SPF of 30. Containing active ingredients Octinoxate, Octisalate, Meradimate and Oxybenzone, this is a broad-spectrum, water-resistant product. It is ideal for all skin types by moisturizing the skin while also gently softening and smoothing.
Sunforgettable Sunscreen Brush: The Sunforgettable is a mineral powder sunscreen that contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Sunforgettable comes in 2 shades, Medium and Tan, and SPF 30 or 50. This sunscreen can be used over any makeup that has been previously applied, also making this a perfect method of re-applying sunscreen throughout the day. This is a favorite among our athletic clients, all skin types and children. There is no oil or added chemicals, making it a good sunscreen for post-procedure as well.