As summer approaches and we eagerly move to the outdoors to celebrate the beautiful sunshine and warmer temperatures, it is important to be reminded of best summer skin care practices. At Peraza Dermatology Group, we believe that knowledge is your greatest weapon in the fight against sun damage, and this month we’re focusing on protecting from skin cancer. Check out these helpful skin cancer facts and resources to most effectively help you and your family stay safe this year.
Did You Know?
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of their lives. This primer will give you an overview of skin cancer and how you can help prevent it in you and your family.
Facts About Your Skin
The skin is the largest organ in the human body. It forms a waterproof, protective wrap over your entire body, serving as a barrier to infection and helping to control your body temperature.
The average adult human has a skin surface area between 16 – 21.5 square feet. In just one square inch of skin there are approximately:
- 60,000 melanocytes, which gives the skin its color
- 1,000 nerve endings
- 650 sweat glands
- 20 blood vessels
What is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is the out-of-control growth of abnormal cells in the epidermis, the outermost skin layer, caused by unrepaired DNA damage that triggers mutation. These mutations lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.
Skin cancer is caused for two main reasons:
- The sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays (90% of non melanomas and 86% of melanomas are associated with solar UV)
- The use of UV tanning machines (419,000 cases of skin cancer in the US are linked to indoor tanning)
If caught early, a dermatologist can treat skin cancer with little or no scarring – and the odds are high that it can be eliminated entirely. Often times, a dermatologist can detect the growth early, at the precancerous stage, before it has become full-blown skin cancer or penetrated below the surface of the skin. Regular skin checks and thorough exams with your dermatologist are an integral part of early detection.
Test your knowledge of skin cancer by taking this quiz! When completed, you will be directed to The Skin Cancer Foundation website, which is our recommended resource for learning more about skin cancer.
Can Your Diet Help Prevent Skin Cancer?
Non melanoma skin cancers (NMSC), including basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, are the most common cancers in America. Approximately 5.4 million cases of NMSC are treated in more than 3 million people every year, but recent research shows that certain dietary changes may be one way to bring those numbers down.
Studies have recently shown that antioxidants, including vitamins and other nutrients, may help fight off free radicals and prevent the damage they do that can cause skin cancer. A 2002 study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that UV exposure greases the wheels for skin damage partly by depleting antioxidants in the body. So it makes sense that replacing these protective substances could bolster the weakened defenses.
While both foods and supplements can aid in disease prevention, most nutritionists stress foods, since the interaction between different nutrients in foods is what makes them most effective. Vitamin supplements may not work the same way. Use this list of helpful antioxidants and the foods their found in to plan your meals!
- Beta Carotene: Orange colored vegetables and fruits including carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, apricots and mangoes
- Lycopene: Tomatoes, watermelons, guava, papaya, apricots, pink grapefruits, blood oranges
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Salmon, sardines, herring, albacore tuna, walnuts, flaxseed
- Polyphenols: Freshly brewed green or black tea
- Selenium: Chicken, grass-fed beef or just two Brazil nuts per day
- Vitamin C: oranges, lemons, limes, strawberries, leafy greens, broccoli, bell peppers
- Vitamin D: Cod liver, salmon, mackerel, tuna, milk, egg yolks, beef liver, cheese
- Vitamin E: Almonds, sunflower, spinach, soybeans and wheat germ
- Zinc: Beef, lamb, shellfish and legumes such as hummus, chickpeas, lentils and black beans
Source: The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal, 2017
What Else Can You Do?
Wearing sunscreen and protective clothing when heading out into the sun is the best way to stay ahead of skin cancer. Check out stylish lines of Peraza Dermatology Group-recommended summerwear from Cabana Life and browse sunscreen and other products in the Peraza Dermatology Group online store.