As part of the Ontario Skin Cancer Prevention Act, youths under the age of 18 have been banned from using tanning beds as of this past Thursday, May 1st – perfectly timed, considering May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. The goal of the legislation is to protect young people, who are especially vulnerable to damage from UV radiation leading to skin cancer. According to the World Health Organization, the use of tanning beds by individuals under the age of 35 increases your chance of skin cancer by a whopping 75%. In fact, the WHO classifies tanning beds among its highest risk category, which includes tobacco and asbestos.
Aside from serious health effects, long term exposure to UV rays has been proven to cause photoaging by damaging the skin’s collagen and elastin fibres, resulting in premature wrinkles and fine lines. Other side effects of prolonged UV exposure are as follows:
- Both UVA and UVB cause damage to DNA, with UVB in the epidermis and UVA deeper in the dermis.
- This damage causes mutations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene, a gene responsible for repairing damaged DNA (if possible), or discarding cells that are damaged beyond repair.
- If p53 doesn’t function properly, these highly damaged cells continue to multiply.
- Around 50% of skin tumors have this mutated p53 gene in them.
- UVA penetrates deeper into the skin reaching the dermis where collagen, the structural scaffolding of the skin, is located. This causes the skin to sag in places leading to wrinkles.
- Both UVA and UVB cause the number of Langerhans cells, an important part of the immune system, to decrease, lowering immunity.
- UVA increases the number of inflammatory cells in the dermis.
Generally, the effects of UV exposure on the skin are permanent, however, thanks to scientific breakthroughs and advances in medical grade technology, they can be minimized and in some cases, completely reversed. Professional treatments like IPL Photo Rejuvenation and Laser Genesis are specifically designed to treat the most common age concerns that are so often a direct result of excessive tanning in our youth, such as deep wrinkles, fine lines, loss of skin elasticity, uneven tone and texture, redness/Rosacea, freckles and age spots, etc;
Taking simple precautions in your everyday routine, such as wearing sunscreen, can also have a hugely positive effect on the overall/longterm condition of your skin. Always choose an SPF formulated with zinc oxide, which is far more photostable than any other sun protecting ingredient.
We’re very excited about this new product! Leading sunscreen maker EltaMD has released a hydrating sunscreen specially formulated for acne prone skin. With an SPF of 46, this oil-free, noncomedogenic moisturizer leaves no residue, while calming and protecting sensitive skin types prone to acne, rosacea and discolouration from harmful UVA/UVB rays. This silky, lightweight formula can be worn alone or under makeup.
All EltaMD sunscreens are formulated with a natural mineral compound called zinc oxide. Unlike some chemical ingredients that may degrade, zinc maintains its protective ability in the sun, making it far more photostable than any sun protecting ingredient. Zinc blocks the widest spectrum of UVA and UVB rays while keeping the skin from burning and minimizing the premature appearance of aging and risk of skin cancer. Zinc is safe for even the most sensitive skin types!
Image via EltaMD.com
Remember: The risks associated with sun exposure are not exclusive to the summer season, and protection from UV radiation is important all year round. UV rays from the sun can reach you even on cloudy days, and also reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow.
It is estimated that this year alone:
- 6,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma.
- 1,050 Canadians will die from melanoma.
- 3,300 Canadian men will be diagnosed with melanoma and 640 will die from it.
- 2,700 Canadian women will be diagnosed with melanoma and 390 will die from it.
Malignant melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. However, the earlier it is treated, the more likely the chance of recovery. Below are 5 signs to be on the look out for when trying to detect a potentially cancerous growth on the skin:
Asymmetry: Healthy moles and beauty marks are normally symmetrical. If you visualize a straight line going through the growth at any direction, both sides should be identical.
Border: If the rim of the mole is irregular or poorly defined, you may want to have it checked out by a dermatologist.
Colour: Various shades of brown, black or tan in a single spot often means that the cells are not functioning properly. Be wary of unusual hues such as blue, white or red.
Diameter: Generally, moles larger than six millimeters across are cause for suspicion, however even the smallest of growths can be malignant and/or life-threatening.
Evolution: If the mole has changed in anyway over a period of time, contact your dermatologist immediately.
Because melanoma can metastasize (spread), treatment is absolutely essential. Melanocytes, the cells responsible for giving skin its pigment, is where melanoma begins. Melanoma cells usually continue to produce melanin and is the reason why malignant moles can sometimes take on a mix of colours at once.
At NewDermaMed, we offer a variety of treatments for mole removal depending on the size and location of the growth. By removing a mole, you eliminate the health risks associated with potentially pre-cancerous moles while also achieving smoother, clearer skin. Visit our website for more information about the benefits of mole removal and to book your free consultation today.