November is National Healthy Skin Month, a whole month dedicated to achieving that ultimate goal: healthy, glowing skin. Keeping your skin healthy goes far beyond the right moisturizer or cleansing routine.
The American Academy of Dermatology started National Healthy Skin Month as a way to spread awareness about a number of skin concerns that millions of Americans face each year. The AAD’s primary focus for starting this month of skin health awareness was our skin’s biggest enemy: skin cancer. While the cosmetic implications of skin cancer are worrying enough, its effects on our health can be deadly. It is estimated that over 10,000 Americans will die of skin cancer this year. What’s most distressing about this statistic is that many of these deaths could be prevented by early intervention. 99% of skin cancer, when detected early (before it spreads to lymph nodes or internal organs), is treatable. That means that if we as Americans pay closer attention to the risks for skin cancer, the number of deaths could be greatly reduced. So how do we keep our skin healthy and always be vigilant for skin cancer? Here are some of our best tips for achieving your healthiest skin.
While it may feel a bit weird, standing in front of a full length mirror and making note of your skin can keep you safe from dangerous skin cancer. Perform these checks monthly, preferably after a shower or bath. A self-exam should only take a few minutes, and it can really pay off. Pay attention to the placement of blemishes or moles, and use a hand mirror to look at hard to see places. You may also enlist the help of a family member or friend to help look at your scalp or back. If you notice any changes in blemishes or new moles, be sure to contact your dermatologist for an in office exam.
Sun damage is far and away the primary cause of skin cancers of all types. People who have had five or more blistering or severe sunburns in their lifetimes are over 50% more likely to develop skin cancer later on. Using sunscreen all year round (yes, even in New England in November) is your best way to prevent sun damage. Use a daily sunscreen of 15 SPF or higher on your face and any other exposed skin every day. When you’re out in the sun for any extended periods of time, or just as an extra precaution in the summer, opt for 30 SPF or higher. Reapply sunscreen every two hours when you’re out in the sun. Avoid tanning at all costs. Tanning beds are incredibly dangerous for your skin. Besides the awful risk of skin cancer, tanning or repeated sun damage also prematurely ages skin, causing blemishes and wrinkles.
Your skin is the largest organ in the body, and while regular check ups with your doctor are great for your health overall, you should also see a dermatologist regularly. Your dermatologist may be able to detect skin cancer early by performing routine skin checks. Additionally, they can offer advice on caring for your skin or treating benign growths or lesions that may also occur as a result of sun damage. Whether it’s for a skin cancer check, an acne consultation, or the simplest question about taking care of your skin, your dermatologist has the answers and can offer the right treatment for your skin problems.
Your proactiveness and your trusted dermatologist’s expertise are the two best tools for achieving and maintaining healthy skin this November and all year. Reach out to the professionals at Northeast Dermatology Associates today for a consultation and to attain #YourHealthiestSkin.
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