Doesn’t My Dark Skin Protect Me From Skin Cancer
Not so fast! Skin cancer is certainly more common in people with light-colored skin, hair and eyes, but people of color should not think that they are immune. Dark skin has a better ability to protect itself from the sun than light skin, but it too can tan, be damaged, and develop skin cancer.
People with African American, Asian, Latino, and Native American backgrounds tend to be more likely to die from melanoma when diagnosed, mainly due to late diagnosis. This likely happens because people both patients and healthcare providers – are not as aware of what to look for in dark skin. Melanomas in darker-skinned individuals tend to occur in areas that are not exposed to sun, such as the buttocks, genitals, bottom of the feet, and under the fingernails or toenails. Non-melanoma skin cancers can appear like a sore that wont heal, a red or irritated patch on the skin, shiny bumps, and rough or scaly patches.
Dermatologists advise darker-skinned patients to use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater every day and wear sun-protective clothing and accessories . Get to know your skin so you can identify when something new appears or something old changes. Bring these changes to the attention of your healthcare provider.
See A Suspicious Spot See A Dermatologist
If you find a spot on your skin that could be skin cancer, its time to see a dermatologist. Found early, skin cancer is highly treatable. Often a dermatologist can treat an early skin cancer by removing the cancer and a bit of normal-looking skin.
Given time to grow, treatment for skin cancer becomes more difficult.
You Need Only 10 Minutes Of Sun To Get Vitamin D
Vitamin D is very important for your health, as it is responsible for a lot of physiologic functions in your body. You can get vitamin D from the sun as well as through supplements. You only need about 10 minutes per day of sunlight to get your required vitamin D.
However, this can vary greatly from person to person, so it is still recommended to supplement, especially during the winter and if you live away from the equator.
Vitamin D helps build and strengthen bones through the increased renal absorption of calcium and decreased release of parathyroid hormones . The normal levels of these substances in the body have to be maintained to ensure proper bone formation.
This state of balance or equilibrium between calcium and phosphorus decreases your risk of hypocalcemic tetany, rickets, and osteomalacia. These are calcium-related diseases where the bone becomes weak and brittle or where abnormal spasms occur in the body .
Vitamin D also helps in the growth and development of skin cells. Studies have also indicated that vitamin D may prevent colorectal cancer.
Aside from the time of day, you have to learn too about the other factors that can affect how the sun can damage your skin.
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Getting Skin Cancer Where The Sun Dont Shine
For years, dermatologists have preached about the virtues of sun screens, for good reason. They work.
However, its also true that skin cancer can appear in areas of the body that have no skin exposed to the sun. Were talking about some mighty private areas as well as seemingly underexposed areas like the palms of the hand and soles of the feet.
What Is Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US, and the number of cases continues to rise. It is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. While healthy cells grow and divide in an orderly way, cancer cells grow and divide in a rapid, haphazard manner. This rapid growth results in tumors that are either benign or malignant .
There are three main types of skin cancer:
Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are less serious types and make up 95% of all skin cancers. Also referred to as non-melanoma skin cancers, they are highly curable when treated early.
Melanoma, made up of abnormal skin pigment cells called melanocytes, is the most serious form of skin cancer and causes 75% of all skin cancer deaths. Left untreated, it can spread to other organs and is difficult to control.
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What Really Happens To Your Skin When You Skip The Sunscreen
As summer approaches and the sun starts peeking out from behind the clouds, I can feel the anticipation. I love nothing more than spending the entire day outside walking to the park, splashing at the pool, lounging on the front porch. Summer is a magical time when everything just feels a bit more relaxed.
However, there’s one part about feeling that glorious sunshine on our pale faces that isn’t so wonderful those UV rays lurking everywhere you go. Sure, we all know we’re supposed to wear sunscreen, but unless we’re spending the entire day at the beach, most of us don’t bother. “Oh I’ll be inside most of the day. I never burn. I need my daily vitamin D!” Right?
A few unprotected minutes in the sun here and there don’t feel like a big deal, but they add up quickly. It’s time to start paying attention. Basking in the sunshine sans sunscreen leads to skin damage and skin cancer. Surprisingly, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with more than 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer diagnosed each year. Even more surprisingly, less than 10 percent of Americans actually make sure to apply sunscreen everyday. Read on to learn what really happens just below the surface when you’re exposed to those dangerous rays.
How Sunscreen Is Bad For You
Your likelihood of developing cancer of any kind is very rarely attributable to anything outside of your body .
If your liver and/or colon are filled with toxins, this is where the concern should be focused. The toxins in your inner organs are partly expelled through the skin. This is usually why a person develops skin cancer.
Of course, anything you apply to your skin that is toxic will be absorbed by the skin , and now it is in you. And there are other environmental hazards, including incredibly long periods of sun exposure, which could be dangerous, but seems to be extremely rare, in reality.
But nowhere near as dangerous as a , drinking unfiltered tap water or other toxic liquids, or using
Or using your average brand of sunscreen.
There is an olde saying, which says, if you cant eat it, you ought not to put it on your skin.
I havent confirmed this percentage, but a commenter from another article about this topic says, Why is skin cancer almost nil along the equator in Africa, and at the same time 75% higher among African Americans?.
I guess you might find it enlightening to know why sunscreen causes cancer, so here is a list for you of sunscreens cancer-causing ingredients:
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What If You’re Already Burnt
So you spent the day outside with friends and forgot the sunscreen. In addition to aging our skin and putting us at a higher risk for cancer, sunburns are also just plain uncomfortable. The trick is to treat them fast to start feeling better.
First, cool off the burning sensation. If you got burned during your pool day, take a dip in the pool to cool off your skin. Only stay in for a couple minutes, then make your way to some shade. You can also use ice packs or a cold shower if that feels good. And don’t just save the cold water for the shower. Start drinking it and replace those fluids that you lost during your day in the sun. You could also try a sports drink to replace the electrolytes.
After your cold shower, break out your best lotion or moisturizing cream. Moisturize regularly to help with the peeling or blistering skin. Can’t stand the pain? Try an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication like Ibuprofen or Aleve. You could also try a one percent cortisone cream to calm some of that sting.
How Can I Tell If I Have Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is actually one of the easiest cancers to find. Thats because skin cancer usually begins where you can see it.
You can get skin cancer anywhere on your skin from your scalp to the bottoms of your feet. Even if the area gets little sun, its possible for skin cancer to develop there.
You can also get skin cancer in places that may surprise you. Skin cancer can begin under a toenail or fingernail, on your genitals, inside your mouth, or on a lip.
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How Can You Help Prevent Skin Cancer
One of the simplest ways to protect yourself from skin cancer is to limit your exposure to harmful light. The AAD advises that you stay away from tanning beds and take necessary measures to protect yourself from sunlight.
Routine check-ups and self-awareness also play a significant role in prevention and detection. Try to look out for warning signs such as changes in size, shape, or color of a mole, the appearance of a new growth, or a sore that will not heal.
If you notice any of the above, be sure to visit a board-certified dermatologist to determine if there has been any development of cancer.
If cancer is found, it can often be treated with Mohs surgery. Mohs surgery is a procedure that removes layers of cancerous skin in stages to prevent the unnecessary removal of healthy tissue. In some cases, skin grafts are used to restore the appearance of the skin.
If You Have One Of The Two Types Of Non
- A sore that crusts, bleeds, or oozes without scabbing over and healing for a period of several weeks
- One patch of skin appears tight and shiny like a scar
- A red, raised patch with or without itching
- A dip in the skin with a raised border
- A shiny, pearl-like bump
The terms basal cell and squamous cell refer to the layer of the skin where a doctor diagnoses a carcinoma, which means the skin contains cancer cells. Basal cell skin cancer means that cancer is present in the skins epidermis. Squamous cell skin cancer resides in the skins subcutaneous layer.
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Why Can You Get A Melanoma On Areas Of The Skin That Are Exposed To Little Or No Sunlight
My friend was diagnosed with a melanoma on the bottom of her foot. I thought melanoma was caused by exposure to sunlight so how is this possible?”
Melanoma is a type of cancer which usually occurs on skin that has been overexposed to the sun. However, melanomas can also occur on parts of the body that have never been exposed to the sun. Like all cancers, melanomas are the result of changed or damaged genes that lead to cancer cells being able to grow and invade other tissues. UV rays can cause these genetic changes, but so can other factors.
Around 10 per cent of melanomas occur in people with a family history. In these people, the odds that a melanoma will appear on a hidden body part are higher than for others because of the genes theyve inherited. However, melanomas can also occur in people, even where there isnt any obvious family history. It is possible a small proportion of melanomas unrelated to sun might also arise because of factors like viruses, chemicals and environmental pollutants. More research is needed to confirm this. Regardless of the time you spend in the sun or your family history, its important to get to know your skin all of it, not just the parts exposed to the sun and report any changes to your GP.
What Would Happen If There Was No Melanin In The Skin
Answer Wiki. If people didnt have any melanin, we would have all the effects of total Oculocutaneous albinism These include: Completely white skin with no moles or freckles, and greatly increased vulnerability to sunburn and long-term UV-related damage including skin cancer. Pure white, even translucent, hair.
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What You Need To Know
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide.
- 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.
- More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour.
- Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma.
- When detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99 percent.
Theres more than meets the eye when it comes to skin cancer, so make sure you know all the facts. You can #SharetheFacts on social media by downloading images from our Skin Cancer Awareness Toolkit. For the latest news, visit our Press Room.
How Can People With Dark Skin Get Skin Cancer
Although dark skin does not burn in the sun as easily as fair skin, everyone is at risk for skin cancer. Even people who don’t burn are at risk for skin cancer. It doesn’t matter whether you consider your skin light, dark, or somewhere in between. You are at risk for skin cancer. Being in the sun can damage your skin. Sunlight causes damage through ultraviolet, or UV rays, . Two parts of UV, UVA and UVB, can both cause damage to skin. Also, the sun isn’t the only cause of skin cancer. There are other causes. That’s why skin cancer may be found in places on the body never exposed to the sun.
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Does The Sun Really Cause Skin Cancer Or Actually Prevent It
If you are reading this, you are clearly someone who questions things, and I applaud you. At an alarming rate, the curious and reasonable among us are finding that a great portion of what we are told is not only false, it is often a complete inversion of the truth! This is another type of cancer, which I wont talk too much about here. We are here to discuss the truth about skin cancer. Here it comes. Are you ready?
Does sunlight cause skin cancer?
That would be a resounding NO. But guess what does cause skin cancer?
How Does Sunlight Affect The Skin
When ultraviolet radiation reaches the skin, some radiation is reflected away from the surface. The remaining radiation is scattered into the tissues just beneath the skin’s surface. A fraction of this radiation is absorbed by the skin’s living cells.
Ultraviolet radiation absorbed by living cells damages sensitive substances that influence the skin’s normal growth and appearance. Damage can result in:
- increased rate of aging of the skin
- skin cancer
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What Are The Risk Factors For Skin Cancer
People burn or tan depending on their skin type, the time of year, and how long they are exposed to UV rays.
Anyone can get skin cancer, but people with certain characteristics are at greater risk
- A lighter natural skin color.
- Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily, or becomes painful in the sun.
- Blue or green eyes.
- Certain types and a large number of moles.
- A family history of skin cancer.
- A personal history of skin cancer.
- Older age.
How You Can Spot Skin Cancer
As a dermatologist, he feels responsible for examining each of those areas but understands some people are uncomfortable with this.
To try to detect skin cancer yourself, especially melanoma, he recommends the ugly duckling rule.
If you have a bunch of spots, I call it a family. You can have a little red dot family and a little brown dot family, he said. But if you see one thats clearly bigger and has different colors, even someone without any training can pick out that ugly duckling. Most people can do that pretty well for melanomas and for other cancers that refuse to heal.
If you think you may have skin cancer, have it checked by your doctor, who may refer you to a dermatologist.
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How To Apply Sunscreen
So now that you’re ready to make sunscreen part of your daily routine, make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. First, make sure to stock up at the store. Always have some sunscreen on hand and make it part of your morning routine. Wash your face, brush your teeth, and put on sunscreen. Try buying makeup with built-in SPF to save a step.
Make sure your sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. It should have an SPF of at least 30. UVB rays are more likely to cause sunburns, but it’s the UVA rays that penetrate deep into our skin, causing premature aging and skin cancer.
Next place small bottles of sunscreen wherever you might need it, like the car, your purse, or the office. Make a point to never find yourself without it. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, no sunscreen can protect you for longer than two hours, regardless of its SPF. Keep reapplying throughout the day to stay protected.
If you’re wondering if you really need the sunscreen everyday, the answer is yes. What if it’s cloudy today? Or I’m not planning on being outside much? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it doesn’t matter. Just do it. When applying, use about an ounce of sunscreen . So that means if you’re planning a beach day with friends, each of you should be using up to one-half of an eight ounce bottle of sunscreen.