More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined and one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70! That’s why early detection is one of the most important things you can do to stay on top of your health. We recommend seeing your dermatology specialist at least once a year to look you over and make sure there aren’t any suspicious spots that need to be further investigated.
There are also some basic guidelines you can use at home to keep an eye on your moles and take your health into your own hands with our early detection ABCDE guide.
A stands for Asymetry; where one half of the mole is unlike the other half.
B stands for Border; irregular scalloped,or poorly defined border.
C stands for Color; varied from one area to another, shades of tan, brown, and black: sometimes white, red, or blue
D stands for Diameter; melanomas are usually greater than 6mm(the size of an eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.
E stands for Evolving; a mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.
If you think you have a suspicious lesion, don’t wait! We’re happy to take a look to ensure that it’s nothing to worry about.
Whether you’re planning a trip to the beach, or going for an afternoon run, it’s always good to get in the habit of protecting yourself from the sun. Here are some of our best sun protection tips:
1. Choose a good sunscreen: To start, let’s talk about what to look for to get full protection from both UVA (wrinkle causing rays) and UVB (which are the sun burning rays). Obviously we want both, so the most important thing to look for in your sunscreen is to make sure it says “broad spectrum”. Ingredients with broad-spectrum protection include benzophenones (oxybenzone), cinnamates (octylmethyl cinnamate and cinoxate), sulisobenzone, salicylates, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789) and ecamsule (Mexoryl SX). Secondly, we want to make sure we have a high enough SPF to really make sure we are protected. While some think SPF 15 is ideal, at WDC we typically recommend at least an SPF of 30, which filters out about 97% of UVB rays.
2. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours: One of the biggest mistakes people make is not reapplying sunscreen. People who get sunburned usually didn’t use enough sunscreen, didn’t reapply it after being in the sun, or used an expired product. Your skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays every time you go outside, even on cloudy days and in the winter. If you’re out in the hot summer months, try to avoid the peak sun hours from 12pm-2pm.
3. Wear protective clothing and accessories: Wide brim hats are, in fact, in style…so don’t shy away from the long-sleeve cover ups and big hats. Throw on a baseball cap before you head out for your run, and get in the habit of using a moisturizer/sunscreen combination that you put on daily. This makes being out in the sun all day so much easier and makes for happier skin afterwards.
4. Pick out a sunscreen you’ll use: Not all sunscreens are equal. Some are stickier, thicker, thinner than others….so this may be the most important tip we have. Get a sunscreen you don’t mind putting on and chances are you’ll be more apt to do it! We’ve got a big selection and are happy to point you in the direction of some of our favorites.
Wilmington is predominately an outdoor and active lifestyle town, but years of intense activity and long term sun exposure can pay a toll on your skin and aging process. Factors like wrinkles, volume/fat loss in the face, and pigmentation issues like brown spots are a common occurrence. Your skincare experts at WDC are your best resource for tackling these issues head on! It’s never too early or late to start checking and protecting your skin, so don’t wait, and schedule your appointment today!