Saturday, May 18, 2013

Check It Out!

If I'm preachy about one thing, it's taking care of your skin in the sun. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and it's a good time to just get all this information out there. Now, there has been a lot of back and forth about sunscreen, vitamin D, and general hubbub about the suns effects on your skin. The fact of the matter is, excessive and repeated exposure to UVA/UVB radiation mutates your genes resulting in skin cancer. It's NO JOKE. Cancers like melanoma don't even have to manifest itself in place that regularly see the sun (bottoms of feet, scalp, nether regions). Your dermatologist doesn't just exist to give you Botox or give you Accutane; you need to see them yearly to check everything (I mean everything) for signs of skin cancer. I know my generation was and still is obsessed with being tan and I remember going with my mom to the local tanning salon to get brown for prom and going to the beach four days a week all summer without a lick of sunscreen. I WAS STUPID, but that doesn't mean that I can't do something about it now. I am now an avid fake-tanner, sunscreen slatherer, hat wearer, umbrella toting good-girl when in the sun. There are so many ways to protect yourself from the sun; it never hurts to ask your dermatologist what are the best ways to protect yourself. My sun care routine involves the following:

What's Normal and What Isn't
The ABCD's of detection: 
Asymmetry: does it look like a circle, or is it wonky?
Border: like asymmetry, is the border even or varied?
Color: one shade, OK. Two shades, get it looked at.
Diameter: Bigger than a pencil eraser= get it looked at
Sorry for the gross picture, but a visual guide is always a good thing to have. Again, self-diagnosis won't do anything but make you crazy. Go to your dermatologist if you have ANY concerns!

What can you do to keep the sun off

1. Sunscreen! Mineral, chemincal, I figure as long as you wear it you're better off. The difference between the two is a mineral or physical sunblock immediately blocks you from the sun because the sun protection comes form micro milled minerals covering your skin like a barrier. That's why they tend to look really white when you put them on. I always use a mineral sunscreen on my face because it's non-irritating. Here are some of my favorites:

Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense (for face)
Coola Mineral Sport SPF 35 (body)
Shiseido Extra Smooth Sun Protection Lotion (for face and body)
Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients that have a chemical reaction with your skin (takes 15 minutes), that scatters UVA/UVB radiation instead of reflecting it like the mineral ones. This is the most widely available kind because the synthetic chemicals are cheaper to make than mining for minerals (not a Starcraft reference). I like to use mineral sunscreens, but chemical ones are easier for me to find and not so hard on my debit card. Here are some of my favorites:

Sun Bum SPF50 Moisturizing Sunscreen
Australian Gold SPF 30 Spray Gel with Bronzer
There are sooo many ways to keep yourself safe in the sun. This will be a sort of ongoing series for the month since I've already created what might be my longest post. The important thing is that you can still have fun outside, you just need to be safe about it!I spend as much time as I can at the beach, but I suncreen up before I go and use other measures to make sure I don't end up a wrinkly old hag in 10 years. I've seen some of the girls I went to high school with who tanned religiously and they look so old! I want to be forever young!

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