There’s been a renewed focus on skin care in recent years and aisles are full of facial masks, creams, and other lotions and potions that promise to even your skin tone, eliminate acne, mitigate the effects of psoriasis, prevent aging, and so forth. By 2024, it’s predicted that the skin care market globally will hit a net worth of $180 billion! However, there’s another important advantage to taking care of your skin — and one that you might not have thought about. Paying attention to our skin means that we’re more attuned to skin cancer and implementing preventive measures so you don’t ever have to worry about skin cancer! We’ll discuss how you can keep your skin cancer free and what you should do if you see signs of skin cancer (and how to tell).
How Can I Avoid Skin Cancer?
Using a broad spectrum sunscreen is one surefire way to help avoid skin cancer, especially if you’re out and about in the sun frequently. Sunscreens have also evolved, so if you’re worried about sunscreen making you break out with acne, or having oily skin, there’s likely something on the market now that can both protect your skin and keep you from a bad acne breakout.
Of course, staying out of the sun — either by staying in the shade or wearing sunglasses or a sunhat if you’re out in it — is also a good way to avoid skin cancer. You should also stay away from tanning beds and try to avoid getting sunburned.
Checking in with your dermatologist at least once a year is another smart idea — they can conduct a professional skin exam and clear you!
What to Know About Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer, and luckily, has a high cure rate. ut one in five Americans will get a skin care diagnosis by the time they’re 70. There are five main types — basal and squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, Merkel cell skin cancer, lymphoma of the skin, and kaposi sarcoma. The most common form of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, which over four million Americans are diagnosed with every year.
If you have existing moles, it’s important to keep an eye on them — if they’re changing shape, size, or color, talk to your doctor. Between 70-80% of melanomas occur on what seems like healthy skin, but 20-30% are discovered in existing moles.
How Do I Tell If I Have Skin Cancer?
One of the classic signs to look for is a mole that is changing or doesn’t look like other moles. Scaly patches or sores that won’t heal or continue to return are other things to keep an eye out for, as well as an unusual dome-shaped growth or a brown or black streak under a nail. Anything that itches or bleeds in a way that’s out of the norm pay attention to.
What Treatments are Available?
One of the most successful treatments for skin cancer is Mohs surgery. It’s widely considered the gold standard in skin cancer removal, with a 98-99% success rate when it comes to curing skin cancer and has minimal impact on healthy skin. The surgeon only gets rid of the skin with cancer cells. You don’t need to go under — anesthesia is injected at the site that’s being operated on only. This type of treatment is generally used for basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma.
A simple excision, cryotherapy, radiation, and topical chemotherapy are other common types of treatments as well. The treatment plan can depend on how aggressive the cancer is, what stage it’s in, and where it’s located. Your doctor and/or dermatologist will be able to map out the best treatment and recovery plan for you and your needs.
Don’t avoid putting sunscreen on because you’re worried about acne — you should take your skin protection from the sun very seriously. However, if you do everything right, and still find yourself with a case of skin cancer, it’s also great to know your options for treatment and what you can expect.