Many women count a good tan as one of their favorite accessories, but that bronzed look comes at a high price for your skin. In addition to speeding the aging process and causing freckles and sun spots to develop, overexposure to the sun dramatically increases your risk of developing skin cancer. Although men tend to get more serious skin cancers, skin cancer rates in younger women have soared in recent years. Approximately one in five people will develop skin cancer, and 90 percent of those cases are sun related. Consider these facts about sun exposure and your skin:
Signs of Sun Damaged Skin
If you have a tan or a burn, your skin has been damaged by the sun. A tan is evidence that your body has produced melanin in an attempt to protect your skin from further damage from UV rays. If you have a burn, the sun has actually killed some of your skin cells. Your skin turns red because the blood flow to your skin is increased to allow white blood cells to take away the dead cells. This kind of skin damage has been shown to alter your DNA, which significantly increases your risk of getting skin cancer. Although fair-skinned people have the highest risk of getting bad burns, all ethnicities can and do burn.
Keep an eye on moles and freckles for the ABCDs of skin cancer. ABCD stands for Asymmetry, Border, Color, and Diameter. If you have a mole or freckle that is asymmetrical, has an irregular border, varies in color, or is larger than a pencil eraser, have it checked by a doctor.
Visit the American Academy of Dermatology online for tips on how to protect your skin.
The sun shines brightly in Orange County, so start protecting yourself today. Call (949) 837-4500 to find a Saddleback Memorial Medical Center dermatologist. If you are facing a cancer diagnosis, the MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Saddleback Memorial can help.