In the United States, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. Thankfully, it is highly treatable if caught early enough.
There’s always an emphasis on wearing sunscreen during the summer months, but protecting your skin can be a year round challenge.
The sun remains powerful, even in the cold winter, but since your skin is often covered by layers to keep your body warm, the risk of sunburn is much lower.
Outside Factors Influencing Skin Health
Patients who smoke are more likely to experience premature aging of their skin. Alcohol can contribute to dehydrating your skin causing to show more wrinkles. High sugar diets can increase your risk of acne. These are just a few ways your lifestyle choices could be influencing your skin!
The American Lung Association states that more than 1 in 3 Americans live in a place with unhealthy levels of pollution. Exposure to pollution has been linked to premature skin aging.
Lastly, excessive sun exposure can damage your skin. Even a single sunburn in your lifetime can raise your risk of developing skin cancer later in life. It is particularly important to protect children from sun burns. If you have five or more sunburns in your lifetime, your risk of developing Melanoma doubles.
Here's Why You Should Take the Health of Your Skin Seriously
Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. (Skin Cancer Foundation)
1 in 5
Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70 (Skin cancer foundation)
American patients have had their nonmelanoma skin cancer treated as of 2012 (Skin Cancer Foundation)
American's experience acne each year (American Academy of Dermatology)
How Does the Sun Affect Your Skin?
Sun is not the enemy of our skin. Just as too much sun exposure can cause burns, too little sun exposure has its own issues. Sunlight is a primary source of vitamin D for supporting our bones, and too little sunlight in the winter can even cause you to experience seasonal affective disorder.
The sun emits ultraviolet (UV) light that can cause sunburn or damage the skin’s growth and appearance by affecting individual skin cells. This can cause your skin to appear to age more quickly, creating cosmetic issues.
But most concerning is the risk of developing skin cancer. The damage UV light can cause to skin cells can affect the DNA of those cells. This can potentially cause spots or bumps to occur on the skin as skin cells grow and divide.
It is important to take steps to protect not only our skin but our children’s skin. Sunburns during childhood can increase your risk of developing melanoma later in life, so taking proper precautions early can have benefits later on.
What Sunscreen Should I Use?
At a minimum, ensure you are using SPF 30 sunscreen. It is common to see higher SPF sunscreen available which is worth considering for extra protection.
There are two other key rules you need to follow. Find out how often you need to re-apply your sunscreen. Usually, this is every 2 hours but can vary depending on the brand. You also need to check your sunscreen expiration date before using it. Depending on when you purchased the sunscreen, it is typically good for 2 years from the date of manufacturing. Expired sunscreen will offer worse protection and should not be used.
Steps to Protect Your Skin
Use at least SPF 30, re-apply as recommended on the bottle, and ensure your sunscreen is not outdated.
Pick a Good Time to Go Outside
The sun is strongest overhead between 10 am and 4 pm. Spending time outside later in the day can be safer.
Be careful not to overdo this, but moisturizing your skin can reduce cracking caused by dryness so that germs do not get through the cracks in your skin.
Sugar is bad for many reasons, and can raise your blood sugar. This in turn can increase oil production in your skin.
How Does My Diet Influence My Skin?
The foods you eat can positively and negatively affect your skin. Sugar for example can raise your blood sugar and create inflammation. As a result, those on high-sugar diets will often develop more acne. Sugar can also break down the collagen supporting your skin causing it to sag.
There are three vitamins that play the largest role in supporting your skin C, D, and E. Vitamin C can help slow the aging of your skin, D can aid in skin cell growth, and E slows your moisture loss to lessen how dry your skin gets.
How much water you are drinking plays a role in keeping your skin healthy. Mayo Clinic recommends that men drink 15.5 cups of water each day and women drink 11.5 cups of water. About 20% of that water you will get from the food you eat.
Not only does water help regulate your body temperature, but it also cushions your joints. For those who are not drinking enough water daily, getting to the recommended daily intake can also help clear your skin!
How is Skin Cancer Diagnosed?
Your annual physical is a head-to-toe assessment of your health by your provider. If you or your provider find any spots on your skin that should be examined closely, you will be referred to a specialist who will complete a skin biopsy. While there are visual indicators that your provider will use to determine if a spot needs a biopsy, only the biopsy can definitely tell you if you have skin cancer.
Supplements for Your Skin
Zinc Picolinate a highly absorbable essential mineral with a key role in numerous metabolic functions throughout the body as well supporting healthy organs, bones, and connective tissues.
The ingredients in NutriDyn Hair, Skin, and Nails provide a multitude of beneficial effects, especially for nourishing cells contained in the skin and its related tissues.
Support your body’s own production of powerful antioxidants to fight the signs of aging. Reduces oxidative stress by 40% in just 30 days