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Why Skin Cancer Must be a Concern All Year Round

Just because those hot days are gone doesn't mean you don't need to keep protecting your skin.

On a chilly, dreary day like today, it's hard to remember just how hot last Summer was.  Fall does have it's sunny and delightful ones, warm red-gold days that keep ugly thoughts of freezing winter out of our minds.

Sometimes, we are lured into the false sense of security Fall's "weaker" sunlight may bring, but don't be fooled! 

The sun is as strong as ever! Protect your exposed skin. After a summer that was the third hottest on record, it follows that it was one of the worst for skin damage. It's never too late to begin repair. Older folks may be noticing small scaly spots on the face and forehead that feel rough to the touch. 

These can be actinic keratosis.  These spots are caused by sun exposure and usually begin to appear when we are in our forties, onward. 

Even with the use of sun block, we can develop these spots, which are benign, but can develop into skin cancer.  Lentigines or the singular, Lentigo,  are small pigmented spots with clearly defined borders.

Sometimes called "liver spots" they are mostly found on the arms and legs, but can appear anywhere. These are also caused by sun exposure and are usually seen in fair skinned people. They are benign, but need watching as well. Freckles used to be thought of as "cute" on little noses, now we know they are the first signs of sun damaged skin.  

They can appear on the face, hands, chest back, anywhere the skin has been exposed and sunburn has occurred. Blondes and redheads are particularly vulnerable. Those brown spots on our hands as we age, appear after many years of sun. They also require monitoring. There are various creams and procedures to remove them, but they do come back after time. 

If you're young, remember to protect your hands and you won't have this problem later in life. If you're not so young, protect them now!  A natural way to fade them is a mixture of buttermilk and lemon juice, applied twice a day for ten minutes or so and at bed time. It takes awhile, but is chemical free.

Melanoma is one of the scariest words in our language. This deadly cancer often goes unnoticed until it's too late. It starts out small, sometimes no larger than a pencil mark, in a mole or freckle you've had for years. If you don't examine yourself monthly, changes can occur without you being aware of them. Let's not forget about the scalp. 

You don't have to be bald to get skin cancer on your head.  In fact, cancer likes to hide there. A sore spot, an area with a little scab that doesn't heal, are signs to watch for and attend to. Wearing a cap or scarf when you're out in the sun is good sense. Wear a moisturizer or makeup base with a good SPF and I strongly suggest a v

isit to the Dermatologist every six months for a full body skin examination.  This is particularly important if you are a person of color.  Darker skin with more melanin is not efficient protection from skin cancer, in fact people of color have rising rates of skin cancer, possibly due to this myth.

The skin is our body's largest organ and the only one exposed to the elements. It's tougher than we imagine and has the amazing ability to heal from almost any insult. It cools us and eliminates waste through perspiration, and breathes as well. Dry brushing of the skin is a great way to keep it smooth and blood circulation in top shape. Keep it clean, moisturized and protected. 

Use Dove or Cetaphil lotion or any one of many soap free cleansers, so you don't dry out. Don't cook yourself in tanning beds. Skin cancer is increasing, perhaps due to the effects of our stronger sun and perhaps because of other environmental factors. It's important to protect your skin all year round.  

Dr. Kleine regrets she cannot give advice by phone or e-mail.  To make an appointment, call 631.472.8139 or e-mail us at Drfootsi@myway.com 

Mari M October 11, 2012 at 07:57 AM
Applying sunscreen to your back is never easy. Luckily, there is a new lotion applicator on the market, called the SunBuddy Lotion Applicator. Get it here: www.GetSunBuddy.com

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