Hello my darlings!
Is it just me or has this week just slowly creeped by? Somehow we’ve made it to the middle though, which means it’s Wellness Wednesday. This week, with the sun shining bright, we’re talking the dangers of those UVA’s and UVB’s you may or may not be so fond of. Back in my young years, I loved me some good ol’ crisping in the sun – or the tanning booth- depending on the season. Now I absolutely cringe thinking about the damage I soaked up along with that tan I thought I so badly needed. Uh hello – skin cancer souffle!
I don’t want to sound like scary Sally but we never know what life might throw at us down the road. Did you know your immune system lives and breathes in your skin? With my transplant patients, skin cancers were the number one form of cancer we saw in their aftercare and years following their transplant. When you’re immunosuppressed, you lose the ability to fight off certain infections and diseases. This also means historical diseases or in this case, sun damage, may come to surface. I cannot stress the importance of daily sunscreen, even if you’re not out lounging by the pool.
We tend to think we are invincible, especially in our young years, until we find ourselves knocked on our behinds – but let me tell you – the gift of health is precious and should be regarded as such. Did you know one person dies from melanoma every hour? An estimated one in five Americans will develop skin cancer within the course of their lifetime (JAMA, 2005). So – with those frightening statistics – I stick with my paleness and embrace an occasional self-tanner! But before we jump into those, I want to encourage you all to not only self-check your skin regularly and seek medical advice for any suspicious looking moles or changes in your skin, but to also see a dermatologist at least once a year – especially if you have had lengthy sun/UV exposure/blistering burns in the past. Not sure what questionable moles look like? You can generally use the “ABCDE” rule or consult a physician if you’re unsure.
- A is for Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
- B is for Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
- C is for Color: The color is not the same all over and may include different shades of brown or black, or sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.
- D is for Diameter: The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about ¼ inch – the size of a pencil eraser), although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.
- E is for Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.
Now, let’s talk a sun-less tan. Did you know I’ve never actually gotten a spray tan? Weird, right? Even more weird, I’ve never used a self-tanner. Growing up I had friends who had them done and looked like a zebra or seriously looked orange, hence my fear. Then I came across this incredible find – Say Hello to Sexy Legs and fell in love because it washes off, like lotion! When applying Hello Sexy Legs, the gel doesn’t stain your hands and doesn’t leave you feeling sticky either. Guys – I’m pleased as punch! They also have a wonderful highlighter, weekender set, and contour stick. You can find their website here for more information.
If you didn’t catch last week’s Wednesday Wellness topic – trot back here.
Photography by Megan Weaver
Robinson, JK. Sun exposure, sun protection, and vitamin D. JAMA 2005; 294:1541-43