Skin Cancer & Sun Safety Refresher:
Non-Melanotic Skin Cancers Basal Cell Carcinoma – The most common type of skin cancer, commonly found on areas with high sun exposure (i.e. face, chest). Commonly seen as a pink papule – if a “pimple” is present for more than 3 weeks – it is important to get it checked out, it could be skin cancer!
Squamous Cell Carcinoma – the second most common form of skin cancer due to heavy sun exposure. These can appear as scaly red patches or open sores that are not healing.
Melanoma - The most aggressive and deadliest form of skin cancer. It is important that patients are aware of their skin and see a dermatologist if they notice any new or changing spots. An important mnemonic to assess a spot of concern is to use the ABCDEs: Asymmetry, Border Irregularity, Color Change, Diameter >6mm (head of a pencil eraser), Evolving.
Sun Safety Tips
Seek shade! Especially during peak hours: 10am-2pm. If you can’t seek shade, bring an umbrella to create your own shade.
Wear sun-protective clothing! Ex. A wide-brimmed hat, UV protective sunglasses, UPF clothing.
Wear sunscreen! Apply sunscreen to all sun-exposed skin. Apply SPF 30+, broad-spectrum sunscreen, water-resistant Apply 15 minutes before going outside. Reapply every 2 hours and after sweating/swimming.
Chemical v. Physical Chemical Sunscreens – absorb the UV rays, acting like a sponge. They convert the UV rays into heat. These sunscreens will be easier to rub into your skin without leaving a white cast behind.
Chemical sunscreens start working 20 minutes after application.
Active ingredients to look for: avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone
Physical Sunscreens – deflects the UV rays, acting like a shield.
These sunscreens are better for sensitive skin and are more moisturizing. However, they might be more difficult to blend into your skin and might feel heavier.
Physical sunscreens work immediately after application.
Active ingredients to look for: minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide
Both chemical and physical sunscreens will protect you equally from sun damage if used correctly.
See https://derminterest.com/sun-protection-2/ for more information