The Importance of Protecting Your Skin from Skin Cancer and Maintaining Skin Health

 The Importance of Protecting Your Skin from Skin Cancer and Maintaining Skin Health


Our skin is the largest organ in our body, serving as a protective barrier against harmful external elements. However, it is also susceptible to damage, including the development of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with millions of cases diagnosed yearly. While some types of skin cancer can be easily treated, others can be more aggressive and even life-threatening if not detected early. Protecting your skin from skin cancer and maintaining skin health are crucial for overall well-being. This article will discuss the importance of protecting your skin from skin cancer and maintaining skin health.

Understanding Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells, typically caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds. There are three primary types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common types of skin cancer and are usually treatable with early detection. However, melanoma, although less common, is more aggressive and can be life-threatening if not detected and treated early.

Several risk factors increase the likelihood of developing skin cancer, including fair skin, family history of skin cancer, prolonged sun exposure, and use of tanning beds. While not all skin cancers can be prevented, early detection is essential. Regular self-examinations and annual skin cancer screenings with a dermatologist can aid in early skin cancer detection, improving the chances of successful treatment.

Maintaining Skin Health

Maintaining skin health is crucial for preventing skin cancer and promoting overall well-being. Here are some tips for maintaining healthy skin:

  1. Develop a skincare routine: A proper skincare routine should include gentle cleansing, moisturizing, and sun protection. Use a mild cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and makeup. Moisturize to keep your skin hydrated and smooth. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
  2. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is vital for healthy skin. It helps hydrate your skin, improves elasticity, and flushes out toxins.
  3. Eat a healthy diet: Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help improve your skin’s health. Antioxidant-rich foods like berries, leafy greens, and nuts can help protect your skin from damage caused by free radicals.
  4. Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can cause stress and inflammation, leading to dull and tired-looking skin. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night to promote skin rejuvenation.

Following these tips can help maintain healthy skin and reduce your risk of skin cancer.

Protecting Your Skin from Skin Cancer

One of the best ways to protect your skin from skin cancer is to limit exposure to UV radiation. Here are some tips for protecting your skin:

  1. Wear protective clothing: Wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats can help protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
  2. Seek shade: Avoid direct sun exposure during peak hours, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  3. Use sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
  4. Avoid tanning beds: Tanning beds emit UV radiation, increasing your risk of skin cancer.
  5. Regular skin cancer screenings: Regular skin cancer screenings with a dermatologist can help detect skin cancer early, improving the chances of successful treatment.

Taking these precautions can help protect your skin from skin cancer and maintain healthy skin.

Skin Cancer Treatment and Prevention

Early detection and treatment of skin cancer are essential for successful outcomes. The most common treatments for skin cancer include:

Surgery: Surgery involves removing the cancerous growth and the surrounding area of healthy skin. This is the most common treatment for most types of skin cancer.

Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. It may be used after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells.

Topical chemotherapy: Topical chemotherapy involves applying a cream or lotion directly to skin cancer to destroy cancer cells.

Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer. It may be used for advanced skin cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

It’s important to remember that prevention is the best defense against skin cancer. Regular skin cancer screenings can help detect skin cancer early when it’s most treatable. After treatment, it’s crucial to monitor your skin for any changes and take necessary precautions to prevent future skin cancer. This includes regular skin cancer screenings, sun protection, and a proper skincare routine.

At Sheperd Integrative Dermatology, our team of medical professionals has over 50 years of combined dermatology experience. It brings our patients the latest, clinically-advanced technology to treat and diagnose more than 3,000 skin conditions, from eczema and psoriasis to rashes, acne, and hair loss. We prioritize early detection and prevention and work closely with our patients to develop individualized treatment plans tailored to their specific needs.


Taking care of your skin is essential to maintaining your overall health and well-being. Skin cancer is a severe condition that affects millions of people every year, but it’s also preventable. Understanding the risk factors for skin cancer and taking the necessary precautions to protect your skin can reduce your risk and promote healthy skin.

At Sheperd Integrative Dermatology, our team of experienced dermatologists is committed to providing our patients with the highest quality care. We offer advanced diagnostic and treatment options for various skin conditions, including skin cancer. Our focus on early detection and prevention helps our patients achieve the best possible outcomes.

By scheduling regular skin cancer screenings with us, you can proactively approach your skin health. We’ll work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your specific needs and helps you maintain healthy, beautiful skin. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and take the first step in protecting your skin health.

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Rebecca Repaire


Becky is a board- certified Physician Assistant and has practiced Dermatology for over 18 years. She graduated magna cum laude from her undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia, then completed her Physician Assistant studies at the Medical University of South Carolina. She now practices medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology. She has done extensive training in the use of a dermatoscope and equally extensive training in surgical techniques for the removal of skin cancers. As her practice and skill have continued to grow, cosmetic dermatology has become a passion of hers and she devotes herself enthusiastically to continuing training to ensure she remains at the forefront of innovations with Botox, fillers, threads, and other techniques. She believes that our skin is a reflection of our overall emotional and physical well-being, and she delights in helping patients find their inner beauty.

Amy Jetter


Amy brings her whole heart to her role on the Sheperd cosmetic team.  A graduate of Elon College and the Medical College of Virginia, Amy has been a board-certified nurse for over 30 years.  Bringing her skills as an ICU nurse into her role in cosmetic patient care, Amy provides a warm, reassuring presence to all her clients, listening to their concerns and collaborating with them in a plan to bring forth and enhance their natural beauty.  A standing member of the American Association of Plastic Surgery Nurses and a past RN trainer in cosmetic and aesthetic procedures, Amy offers all types of laser treatments, botox and dermal filler injections, and chemical peels.

Melissa Mancuso

Body Contouring Specialist

Melissa has six years of experience in body contouring, beginning with her role as the CoolSculpting representative for Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Since joining the Sheperd team, she has received additional training and now offers chemical peels, Vivace micro-needling, and Diamond Glow dermal infusion. She loves helping patients feel good about their bodies and teaching them about how the various cosmetic procedures can help them achieve the results they are seeking.

Margaret Gierhart


Margaret, a South Carolina native, is a Licensed Esthetician and makeup artist with over 20 years of experience in the beauty industry. She earned a BA in Psychology from the University of South Carolina. She began her career in beauty as the resident makeup artist for Bobbie Brown cosmetics at Saks Fifth Avenue in Charleston. In order to expand her knowledge, she earned her degree in esthetics from Trident Technical College, graduating with honors. She joined the Sheperd Integrative Dermatology staff in 2014 and is certified in a wide array of cosmetic procedures and skin care products. Her offerings include laser skin resurfacing, IPL, micro-needling, chemical peels, radio frequency, laser hair removal, and body contouring. Her background in both psychology and artistry gives her a deep capacity to care for patients and understand what makes them feel beautiful. A mother of two daughters, Margaret understands beauty as not only external appearance, but also as a manifestation of the inner qualities of kindness, generosity, and well-being.

Madeline Anderson


Maddie is a board-certified Physician Assistant and a Lowcountry native. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Clemson University and then went on to earn a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from the Medical University of South Carolina, graduating with highest honors. While in PA school, Maddie served as a Student Representative for the SC Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants. After graduation, she completed a six-month advanced dermatology internship here at Sheperd Integrative Dermatology. She also completed the Diplomate Fellowship with the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants. Maddie has a heart for medical missions and is passionate about patient education. Her free time is shared with her family, her friends, and her two fur babies!

AnnaKathryn Keiper


AnnaKathryn completed her Doctorate degree at the Medical University of South Carolina and has seven years of experience in dermatology. She has completed additional training in medical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology, and functional medicine. She provides skin cancer screenings, surgical removal of skin cancers, treatment of precancerous lesions, extractions of cysts, and the treatment of acne. In the cosmetic domain, she provides laser, filler, and neurotoxin treatments. Certified through the Institute of Functional Medicine, AnnaKathryn has a special focus on wellness, including weight loss and diet consulting. She uses her expertise in this field to create an individualized program to help each of her patients achieve optimal wellness supporting them in maintaining vibrancy and vitality throughout their lifespan.

Allyson Harrell-Garrison


Ally is a board-certified Physician Assistant and a Diplomate of the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants, their highest rating. She is a graduate of Clemson University and earned her Master’s degree in Physicians Assistant studies at the University of Alabama; additionally, she completed a dermatology fellowship at Charlotte Dermatology in North Carolina. For more than ten years, her focus on both medical and surgical dermatology has included identifying and treating skin cancers as well as managing biologic medications for psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Ally has a strong love of surgical dermatology and she performs surgeries every day in the clinic, including excisions of cysts and skin cancers. She also loves the challenge of a difficult case! On the cosmetic side, Ally is a skilled injector of both Botox and Dysport. She sees compassion and empathy as vital qualities that she brings to all her patient interactions. She is mindful that skin cancer screenings can be frightening or overwhelming; her warm, calm manner and her focus on patient education throughout each appointment make her an outstanding clinician.
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