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1 in 30 Adults are at Risk for Developing Skin Cancer in their Lifetime

Tag Archives: ultraviolet radiation

Did you know that the incidence of  invasive skin cancer in the US is rising by 4%- 6% each year? Will you be among the over 68,000 Americans that will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2011, and that 1 in 58 Americans will develop melanoma over their lifetime? The Journal of Clinical Oncology (January 20, 2011 issue) recently published a study which revealed a significant reduction in the risk of invasive melanoma with regular sunscreen use.

The study randomly selected and followed a total of 1621 people between the ages of 25 and 75 years over a 14 year period. The study assigned participants to “apply daily or discretionary sunscreen to both heads and arms in combination with 30 mg beta carotene or a placebo supplement. Ten years after trial cessation, 11 new primary melanomas had been identified in the daily sunscreen group, and 22 had been identified in the discretionary group, which represented a reduction of the observed rate in those randomly assigned to daily sunscreen use.”

There are about 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers, and 150,000 melanomas diagnosed each year around the world. There is overwhelming evidence that UV radiation is a major cause of precancers, skin cancers, and skin aging.

UV radiation consists of UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC does not penetrate the atmosphere, and thus doesn’t impact us.

What Is the Difference between UVA and UVB?

 

UVA
UVA penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB and is the dominant tanning radiation. Tanning, whether outdoors or in a salon, causes cumulative damage. Most of us are exposed to large amounts of UVA throughout our life, as UVA rays account for up to 95 percent of the ultraviolet radiation reaching Earth’s surface. UVA is less intense than UVB, but it is present with about equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year. UVA does penetrate clouds and glass.

UVB
UVB is the primary cause of skin reddening and sunburn. Because it tends to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers, UVB plays a key role in the development of skin cancer and a contributory role in tanning and photo-aging. Its intensity varies by season, location, and time of day. The most significant amount of UVB hits the U.S. between 10 AM and 4 PM from April to October. However, UVB rays can burn and damage your skin year-round, especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice. UVB rays do not significantly penetrate glass.

Studies consistently have shown significantly more pre-cancers, non-melanoma skin cancers and even melanomas on the left side of the face. Why is this? We are exposed to significant amounts of UVA rays when driving. While the amount of exposure might seem insignificant it really adds up over the years. Another theory is that the way people sunbathe may be involved. One researcher in Britain (where people drive on the right side of the car) suggested “If people sunbathing in the northern hemisphere tend to lie facing south in the morning, the left side of their body might be exposed and sunburned as the sun moves from east to west, making them more likely to cover up by afternoon,” they say.

We recommend daily application of a good quality sunscreen, protecting from both UVB and UVA. For information choosing a sunscreen see https://www.skin-vein.com/blog/how-to-choose-the-right-sunscreen and https://www.skin-vein.com/blog/sunscreen-101.

by Hadley, Zimmet Vein & Dermatology Aesthetician

 

A good quality sunscreen is an absolute necessity for preventing sun damage, lowering risks of skin cancer, and maintaining optimal skin health. With so many choices on the market how can one even begin to make a good decision?  Here are some tips to better understand the mystery of skin and sunscreens.

1. Know the difference between ‘chemical’ and ‘physical’ sunscreens.

– Chemical sunscreens protect the skin by absorbing UV light

– A chemical reaction takes place when UV light is absorbed and heat is created

-This heat and the chemicals involved can cause redness and irritation in those with sensitive skin

-Chemical sunscreen products tend to be thin and easy to apply

-Physical sunscreens use titanium, zinc oxide, and iron oxides to block UV light from the skin

-The anti-inflammatory benefits make physical sunscreens the preferred choice for sensitive skin individuals.

-Physical sunscreens can be thick and must be warmed on the fingertips and applied to hydrated skin.

2.  Invest in a high quality broad-spectrum sunscreen for face, neck and chest.  Skincare companies such as Skinceuticals offer a range of suncreen choices for every skin type.  Their newest product, Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50, with transparent Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, is lightweight, sheer, and dries to a matte finish.  It is ideal for oily skin individuals and those who hate the greasy feel of sunscreens.

3. Understand your skin type.  This is best done by consulting with an aesthetician, who should analyze your skin with a magnifying lamp. Choosing the right sunscreen can help balance the skin, reduce inflammation, fight aging and reduce the risk of skin cancers.

4. Recognize that breakouts and red irritated skin may be a skin disease or disorder such as acne or rosacea.  Certain sunscreens can aggravate these conditions so, if suffering from these symptoms, make an appointment with a dermatologist.

5. Understand that certain prescription and over-the-counter medications such as Retin-A, retinol and benzyl peroxide can increase sun sensitivity and overall sensitivity of the skin.  If you use these or other products that increase skin sensitivity be aware that ‘physical’ sunscreens, containing ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, may help reduce inflammation and soothe the skin while protecting from the sun.

6. Remember to use a sport sunscreen when swimming or being active outdoors.  Use waterproof rather than water-resistant formulas and reapply often.

7.  Make sure to purchase a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB light.


Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind

you.  ~Maori Proverb

But before you do, protect your skin with a broad spectrum sunscreen. Make sure you have protection against both types of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation, ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). Unprotected exposure to both forms of UV radiation can lead to the development of skin cancer, accelerate photo-aging and the formation of cataracts. Also, both UVA and UVB suppress the immune system, which may explain the increased risk of skin cancer. Continue reading

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