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4 Things You Can Do To Avoid Skin Cancer

by Chelsea Ausland

May Is Skin cancer Awareness Month 

What we fight, we strengthen, what we resist persists; this explains why human connection and communication is key to fighting health conditions. Take a stand this May to fight the number one most diagnosed cancer war of them all, skin cancer. Even though it’s the most common cancer in the United States, with over 5 million cases diagnosed each year, there’s still hope. 

Skin cancer is actually one of the most preventable forms of cancer. How so, you ask?  Skin cancer is a cancer you can actually SEE. Step one of your fight, get to know your skin. Look for abnormalities that are growing, changing and are unusual. During May lets all do our part and spread this information, a quick social media share could educate and, quite literally, save a life.

4 Tips To Prevent Skin Cancer

1. See a Dermatologist 

Do you see a Dermatologist?  Yes – then book an annual scan!  No? Then it’s time to find one. Having a standing annual appointment with a dermatologist will guarantee that you have time scheduled out for a body scan by someone who can diagnose and treat skin abnormalities. Even though we ought to be checking our own skin regularly, there are some spots that are difficult to see.

2. Wear SPF Daily

It’s vital to wear SPF every day, not just when we’re going to the beach. If you drive in a car, work or live in a building with windows (yes UV rays can penetrate glass), or live on planet earth for that matter, you are subjected to UV radiation. 

Even during the winter months it’s important to apply our SPF. UV rays bounce off of snow and water, reflecting the same rays at you twice! Not only is it important to apply SPF of at least 15, but to REAPPLY. SPF doesn’t have to be boring or difficult to reapply, you can often find it in a variety of cosmetics, sunglasses, hats and even clothes. 

Yes, actual clothing with ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). 

 Here are a list of product reviews that you can use you find SPF that you’ll love!  

3. Indoor Activities

Other protective measures you can take are to consider indoor activities between the times of 10AM and 4PM, when the sun is most intense. If you find yourself obligated to be outdoors be sure to protect against getting burned. Just one blistering sunburn in adolescence can more than double a person’s chance of developing melanoma later in life.

4. Avoid Tanning Beds

The simplest way of reducing risk of skin cancer is to avoid tanning beds. UV tanning devices are classed by affiliates of the World Health Organization in Group 1, along with plutonium, cigarettes and solar UV radiation as agents that are cancer causing to humans. If you have ever used a tanning bed there is a 67% increased risk of developing skin cancer. People who used a tanning bed before the age of 35 have increased their risk for melanoma by 75%. These staggering statistics should be enough to have you spending your tanning bed budget on SPF and sunless tanning lotions. With new age anti aging properties and easy to use formulas, sunless tanning products are now better than ever!

What SPF Prevents Skin Cancer? 

To prevent skin cancer with sunscreen there’s just two numbers to remember, 15 and 30. You’ll want to choose at least an SPF 15 for daily use.

Using SPF Daily will prevent skin damage such as: premature aging sun spots, wrinkles, and sagging skin.  According to skincancer.org, daily SPF application will also reduce the risk of skin cancers by the % below:

%

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

%

Melanoma

When you’re going to be spending an extended amount of time outdoors that’s when you’ll want to reach for at least an SPF 30.

What SPF’s Do Doctors Recommend? 

Dermatologists recommend to block the highest amount of UV rays possible. According to skincaner.org the the 3 most popular SPF levels will block an estimated % of UVB rays, see sliders below.

%

SPF 15 Will Block

%

SPF 30 Will Block

%

SPF 50 Will Block

It should be known that no SPF can block 100% of UVB rays, so as long as you’re wearing an SPF 30 your Dermatologist approves! Want the extra bells and whistles? Check for a water resistant sunscreen that has broad spectrum protection (protects against UVA & UVB rays).

How Do You Talk To Clients About Wearing SPF Daily 

Sunscreen is a skin care MVP. Whether, I’m guiding and treating a client with age management concerns, pigmentation concerns, acne, or sensitivity? I inform each one of them that sunscreen is an integral aspect to reaching their desired outcome. We cannot fight damage until we prevent the cause. Of course, there are many causes to various skin conditions, but one thing we do know is that UV radiation will have an adverse reaction for every single condition. 

Education is key, and many people are unaware of the sun’s harmful effects. I tell my clients that UV rays mutate skin cells, destroying their DNA and therefore, make it impossible for them to carry out normal functions. This translates into what we see in the mirror:  sagging skin, brown spots, and fine lines. Once someone is told that sunscreen is their insurance to stop a significant factor that directly impacts their goals for their skin, they’re likely to invest in that insurance.

If You Suspect Skin Cancer On A Client

 Estheticians cannot legally diagnose skin cancer.  We can, however,  educate ourselves on how to spot abnormalities and then direct clients to those (dermatologists) who can diagnose and treat cancer. There are ample certifications available to professionals and non-professionals alike. 

One of the most well known organizations offering skin cancer education is “Impact Melanoma” (impactmelanoma.org). Impact Melanoma is a national non-profit providing education, prevention and support for skin cancer. Their online course will give you confidence in recognizing abnormal skin growths. 

When I suspect skin cancer on a client I educate them on the A, B, C, D, E’s of skin cancer, then ask if they think the spot in question falls into any of these guidelines. I then recommend that they follow up with their Dermatologist or Physician. I also recommend that estheticians become informed on the basics of skin cancer treatments. 

When my clients who have been diagnosed ask what I know, I find that it’s comforting to them that I’m knowledgeable in various treatment plans. This may also help you in determining how to plan your treatments and product recommendations for them around their diagnosis and cancer treatment. I ask my diagnosed clients to provide clearance for the treatments and products I plan to administer. Not only does this ensure I’m following the highest level of safety for my guest, but also lets them know I’m taking every precaution in their care.

skin cancer

Guest Blogger – Chelsea Ausland

Chelsea Renae Ausland is happily married and a mother to three daughters. By trade, she is an international award-winning paramedical Esthetician and Makeup Artist. True to her zodiac sign, Sagittarius, she’s always chased adventure and creative outlets. The beauty industry keeps her interested, as it blends the lines between two seemingly opposite concepts: art and science. Chelsea began her skin care career in Florida and has since moved back to her Michigan roots. With 12 years in the beauty and skin care industry, Chelsea now can be found in Paw Paw, Michigan, as the proud Co-owner of Harvey House Salon. Her message is that knowledge with professional quality skin care practices lead to long lasting skin health and most importantly, self love

In June of 2019, Chelsea won 1st place in the international skin competition The Skin Games inthe Open Medical Category.

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