Posts for: September, 2016
The Stylists Against Skin Cancer campaign focuses on early detection of scalp skin cancer. Hairstylists see the entire scalp, providing an opportunity to notice growths and suspicious lesions that clients might not realize are there. Stylists are known for forming strong relationships with their clients, providing them with the connection to effectively stress the importance of seeing a dermatologist in a timely fashion in order to provide the best opportunity for optimal treatment outcomes. Training hair care professionals across the country in the early detection of skin cancer is a potentially life-saving concept. Stylists are being taught to identify new moles that look different and change in the size, shape, color and feel. The Stylists Against Skin Cancer program empowers hairstylists to become an important link between the public and dermatologists. Please ask your stylist to look for suspicious spots in your scalp because early detection of scalp cancer will lead to better outcomes for cancer treatment. For further details call Central Wyoming Skin Clinic 265-2100
Although ONLY licensed professionals should be performing cosmetic procedures for patients, there are often news stories of unlicensed individuals performing procedures with serious consequences, from severe scarring to hospitalization to even death in some cases. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) defines cosmetic dermatology as treatment of the skin, hair, or nails that is meant to improve a patients appearance rather than treat a disease. Such treatments include injection of fillers to add fullness; injection of botox for wrinkles; laser surgery for blemishes, scars, and hair removal and chemical peels for acne. Medical aesthetic services should only be delegated to an Aesthetician when competency can be established based on education, clinical training and experience. These licensed professionals should only perform delegated medical aesthetic services under the direct, on site supervision of a board-certified dermatologist.
The general appearance of someone's skin is influenced by a combination of the individual's health, lifestyle, genetics and age. The mechanisms of skin aging are still not fully understood, although intrinsic and extrinsic factors play key roles. Unlike intrinsic aging, which is determined by genetic predisposition, extrinsic aging mainly depends on environmental exposures and lifestyle choices. The degree of unprotected solar exposure is one of the dominant factors that promotes premature skin aging in all ethnicities, regardless of skin color. Solar radiation affects skin structure and function however the extent of solar damage to the skin is directly related to the length, amount and condition of the exposure such as time of day, season of year and geographic location. Unprotected solar exposure increases the amount and degree of DNA alterations that may result in skin tumors. Ultraviolet photons (UV) are the most energetic among the solar spectrum, producing large amounts of damage in short periods of time. Despite decades of education by dermatologists about the dangers of UV radiation, many patients either do not use sunscreen or do not use adequately. The majority of patients today are aware of the dangers of cumulative UV exposure and acknowledge the link between chronic sun exposure, premature aging, and skin cancer. Still that knowledge may not motivate change. The data regarding UV protection behaviors are particularly concerning. Only 40% of US households purchase sunscreen. Among the various types of cancer, skin cancer is one where we have a clearly identified contributing factor: UV exposure. Clearly education about long-term health risks associated with various behaviors is not sufficient to motivate change. Habits, beneficial or not, are difficult to change. In the case of UV exposure, the immediate risk of sunburn may motivate some patients to apply sunscreen. This is especially true of individuals who have had a significant, uncomfortable burn in the past. But the pain is not always significant to change behaviors long-term. The real concern is not the short-lived discomfort but the long-term skin cancer risk associated with each sunburn. Future risk does not always motivate a patient to protect their skin now. The statistics that we have around melanoma are very hard to understand in terms of what it means personally. Individuals rationalize that they only have a risk of developing skin cancer, and among those who develop skin cancer, only a proportion die as a result. Patients are more responsive to an argument based on skin aging and wrinkles, we are all going to get wrinkles as we age. But premature wrinkling and premature aging of the skin is clearly induced by chronic overexposure to the sun. Microscopically sun damage is clearly evident with the normal fine wavy collagen and elastin which gives skin its youthful resilience being replaced by non-functional solar elastosis. This substance has no structure and clinically looks like deep wrinkling. So how can dermatologists change the conversation about UV safety and encourage patients to adopt healthy behaviors? Tie sunscreen use to other healthy behaviors, creating a concept of a healthy lifestyle that involves being active and eating healthy and using sunscreen. Skin is the largest organ of the human body and its dynamic barrier protects us from allergens, irritants, and pollution. Research shows that beyond causing damage to the skin layers, UV radiation can actually affect the immune system, leading to a reduction in immune response. Sun safety needs to be a daily habit and involves more than just using sunscreen. It requires protective clothing, sunglasses, and using skin care products that compliment sunscreen.
Recent studies suggest that aspirin ingestion lessens the likelihood of developing colon cancer and possibly other GI cancers. New studies show that postmenopausal women who use aspirin regularly have a significantly reduced risk of developing melanoma, 11%-30% reduction compared to aspirin nonusers. The magnitude of this risk reduction grew with greater duration of aspirin use. Women who have been taking aspirin regularly for less than one year have an 11% reduction in the likelihood of developing melanoma. Those who have been using aspirin regularly for 1-4 years went on to have a 20% risk reduction. And women on aspirin for 5 years or longer were 30% less likely to develop melanoma than nonusers. These relative risk figures were fully adjusted for age, skin type, melanoma risk factors, physical activity, vitamin D intake, smoking status, body mass index, sunburn history, time spent outdoors, sunscreen used, and medical indications for aspirin use. Three- quarters of the aspirin users were on regular or extra strength formulations. The data used in this study were from an analysis of nearly 60,000 postmenopausal participants. So aspirin not only helps prevent heat attacks, strokes, and GI cancers but also melanomas. Perhaps a daily regimen of aspirin would be a very plan for a healthy future.