Monday, January 10, 2011

Healthy Skin Refresher

It's wintertime - not a season when you typically think about the dangers of the sun. But EVERY time you go outside, your skin is exposed to UV rays that can be harmful, even if it doesn't feel hot or sunny outside. I recently got 3 moles removed at my new dermatologist's office (see previous posts). I wasn't really worried, just anxious to hear the biopsy results, because all of these were moles my previous derm had been monitoring for months but decided not to remove. All 3 came back as dysplastic nevi, which is just a fancy way to say they are benign, atypical moles that require no further treatment at this time. But since I have had melanoma, it's important to get these atypical moles removed so we can be sure they aren't turning into something worse. Yay for good biopsy results - that was a great phone call to receive!

So, now seems like the perfect time to remind everyone how important it is to care for and protect your skin!

The #1 rule is: wear sunscreen EVERY day. So many daily face lotions contain sunscreen these days, it's easy to combine your daily moisturizing with sun protection. I personally had a really hard time finding a daily sunscreen that I like. To me, most lotions containing sunscreen seem thick, sticky, or have that distinct sunscreen smell. My dermatologist recently recommended a new daily sunscreen lotion to me, and I am really liking it so far. It's the Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 lotion - the winner of the Elle 2010 Genius Award for Skin. (I personally thought 46 is a super random SPF, but whatever). It is light, thin, and doesn't smell like you're going to the beach. It layers easily under my makeup without feeling greasy. And best of all, it's good for oily or acne-prone if heavier sunscreen lotions make you break out (like me), this one is your friend!

As a melanoma survivor, I have to be extra-careful about exposing my skin to harmful UV rays and monitoring my skin for any changes. At present, about 120,000 new cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are diagnosed each year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. The diagnosis of other skin cancers, such as basal and squamous cell, is even more common.

Since my ordeal with melanoma, I've turned into a big skin care advocate. I made sure all my friends were getting regular checks at the dermatologist, and I am pretty sure NONE of my friends or family members who previously tanned have set foot in a tanning bed since! So thanks for listening to me reiterate for the millionth time how important healthy skin is...and for goodness sake, go put on your sunscreen!

For good advice on how to check your own skin, read this article. For more in-depth discussion of moles and their potential to develop into melanoma, check this out.

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