January 3rd, 2019 | Skin Cancer | The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung
Loving the sun is easy; it is warm, inviting, and it soaks into your skin to provide you with incredible comfort, especially after you have not seen it in a while. And even though we all want to use the excuses of “I’m getting vitamin D” or “My suntan looks healthy,” the sun does far more damage to our skin than good. The sun is not only the leading cause of skin cancer, but it is also the leading cause of premature aging. Because of these realities, before you spend another weekend sunbathing at the beach, consider what you might really be doing to your skin.
Unfortunately, many men and women do not understand the sun’s potential to damage skin until it is too late. People who believed it was important to become as tanned as possible during the summers of their youth may be in for a rude awakening. Sun exposure leads to the premature formation of fine lines, wrinkles, skin laxity, and skin discoloration (age spots, brown spots, sun spots), especially on the highly visible areas of the face, neck, chest, and arms. While some lotions and creams may help prevent these signs of sun damage, they are often not strong enough to combat the damage that has already been done.
While we all want to maintain the aesthetic quality of our skin, there is no denying that skin cancer is a far more significant concern. Skin cancer is often caused by overexposure to the sun. It can be mild, such as basal cell carcinoma, which will not spread and is easily treated; or more serious, such as melanoma, which can spread to other parts of the body. Any cancer diagnosis is a cause for concern. Luckily, skin cancer is treatable when it is detected early and is preventable in many cases with adequate sun protection.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
The sun’s rays can be catastrophic to your health if you do nothing to protect yourself. Fortunately, it is easier than you think. Truthfully, there is no way to stay out of the sun completely. There will always be times when you are going to want to spend time outdoors participating in activities, seeing friends and family, and living life to the fullest. You do not need to completely avoid going outside; instead, choosing non-peak hours (before 10:00 am and after 4:00 pm) to be out in the sun is a very good way to enjoy being outdoors while minimizing sun damage. Next, keep skin covered with pants, sleeves, sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat. Finally, use and reapply sunscreen on exposed skin,