As we near the end of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, it’s a better time than any to revisit the basics of preventing sun damage and its associated risk of cancer. In a recent report by the Skin Cancer Foundation, the statistics were alarming: The organization recorded 5.4 million cases of skin cancer over the last year and estimated that 40-50% of Americans who live to the age of 65 will have non-melanoma skin cancer at least once in their lifetime. The widespread impact of sun damage in the shape of first and second-degree burns, skin sagging and wrinkles, irregular pigmentation, melasma, and age spots is not recorded.
While the necessity to invest in a good SPF is common knowledge, there’s still a lot of confusion when it comes to best practices for year-round sun protection. Even for the initiated who religiously slather on the SPF, specific questions often remain: What exactly is the difference between a UVA and UVB ray? What factor protection should we really be using? How quickly can damaging rays start to take effect?
To get clarification on the above (and then some), we tapped Melissa Doft, MD to sound off on the facts. As an expert in a wide range of cosmetic and reconstructive treatments, Dr. Doft spends a lot of her time reversing years of negative sun exposure in her Park Avenue practice. Her procedures give damaged skin a new lease of life, and she’s adamant on advising patients how to protect her precious results for the future. Here, she weighs in with some powerful knowledge on the topic.
WHAT’S THE MOST COMMON MISCONCEPTION ABOUT SUN DAMAGE?
“Most Americans don’t place a high value on skin protection. Many will use sunscreen while at the beach, but not during their regular day. Others will only apply it onto their children, but not themselves. Everyone needs to wear sunscreen everyday and reapply it regularly—even on overcast, rainy, stormy, and cloudy days.”
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UVA AND UVB RAYS?
“Both are ultraviolet rays of sunlight. A rays are long waves and B rays are shortwaves. UVB rays are responsible for burning the superficial layers of your skin, leading to the development of sunburns and skin cancer. UVA rays cause photo-damage and uneven pigmentation, penetrating deeper into your skin right down to the dermal layer. UVA rays also lead to the development of fine lines and wrinkles, as well skin cancer.”
HOW QUICKLY WILL UNPROTECTED SKIN START TO BE DAMAGED BY BOTH?
“This depends on your skin type (aka the level of pigmentation in your skin), the location of sun exposure (different areas on your body can burn more easily than others), the time of exposure, and your geographical location. If you’re nearer to the equator or on a high mountain, for example, the rays are likely to be much stronger.”
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT YOURSELF?
“It’s necessary to protect yourself both outdoors and indoors as UV rays of both kinds can penetrate glass. When outside, always seek shaded areas. Use an umbrella at the beach and be particularly careful between the hours of 10 A.M. and 4 P.M when UV radiation is at its strongest. Consider wearing sun-protective clothing with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) if you’re planning to be outdoors all day. Think about the color of your clothing: Bright colored clothing reflects light more than pastels. Add a broad-rimmed hat to your wardrobe and certified UV-blocking sunglasses. And of course, choose a sunscreen which protects against both UVA and UVB rays.”
WHAT ROLE DO UVA AND UVB RAYS HAVE IN AGING? ARE THEY MORE OR LESS IMPORTANT THAN OTHER LIFESTYLE FACTORS LIKE DIET AND EXERCISE?
“Sun exposure and smoking are the two worse offenders in accelerating the aging process. They far outweigh diet and exercise on all counts. If you only do two things, quit smoking and start wearing a daily SPF.”
CAN PRE-EXISTING SUN DAMAGE EVER BE TRULY REVERSED?
“Using a daily sunscreen will reduce your exposure to further sun damage, allowing your body’s repair mechanisms time to heal your skin. This can help to eliminate some preexisting damage. Dark spots can be lightened using lightening creams, which degrade excess melanin. Look for products containing kojic acid, retinol, or hydroquinolone. Sun exposed skin can appear dried out and have fine lines. A moisturizer with hyaluronic acid can help increase collagen production to remedy this. Consider a medium strength chemical peel to help lighten pigmentation and even out skin tone. Lasers can also be beneficial in mitigating fine lines. Some lasers have also been shown to be beneficial in removing early-stage skin cancers.”
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO TREAT SUNBURN?
“To help aid a swift recovery, choose face serums with antioxidants and DNA repair mechanisms. Hydrate your skin at night with hyaluronic acid containing moisturizers to help plump dried skin. Consider adding a retinol to your skin care regimen to boost collagen production and look into a weekly treatment with alpha hydroxy acids to help remove dead skin cells. Drink plenty of water and make sure to get a good nights sleep.”
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE SKIN TO RECOVER FROM A SUNBURN?
“The depth of the burn will determine the length of time needed for recovery. A mild burn will recover in three-five days, a medium burn will need a week, and severe burns can take months and may require hospitalization in a burn unit. A superficial burn will often heal, creating a blister to allow the body’s serum to import repairing enzymes to the area of the burn as part of the process. As the skin heals, the liquid and dead cells are absorbed and new cells grow.”
IF YOU EXPOSED YOURSELF TO THE SUN AS A TEEN, BUT LATER STARTED USING DAILY PROTECTION, WHAT KIND OF CONDITION CAN YOU EXPECT YOUR SKIN TO BE IN AS YOU AGE?
“It’s never too late to start using sunscreen. Damage from the sun accumulates with further exposure. It is imperative for patients who had a significant exposure to sun as a child or teen to have yearly skin checks as they are at a higher risk for developing skin cancers. Any mole which changes in shape or color, grows, or starts to bleed should be evaluated by a dermatologist.”
WHAT ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE MEDICAL PROCEDURES FOR REVERSING LONG-TERM SUN DAMAGE?
“Vi Peels can help even out skin tone and improve skin texture and lasers are great at diminishing pigmentation spots. They also help boosts collagen production, which can in turn improve fine lines and wrinkles. Medical-grade micro-needling can also help reverse the negative effects of sun exposure.”
WHICH SUN PROTECTION PRODUCTS DO YOU PERSONALLY RECOMMEND?
“I love the texture of EltaMD Clear. It doesn’t leave a white residue that most zinc-based formulas do. I also love La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios line. For both, I always choose a product with an SPF of 50, and I reapply religiously every few hours.”
prev link: https://www.crfashionbook.com/beauty/a9925498/skin-cancer-is-on-the-rise-and-its-worse-than-you-might-think/
createdAt:Wed, 24 May 2017 21:22:16 +0000
displayType:Long Form Article