The American Academy of Dermatology recommends regular skin checks for good health and well-being. People of all ages and skin colors can be affected by skin cancer. Receiving regular skin checks can increase your chance of catching skin cancer at an early and treatable stage. Continue reading for the top 5 reasons Sheperd Integrative Dermatology believe you should never believe you should miss your annual full body skin exam.
In Charleston, we’re lucky enough to have a warmer climate compared to other parts of the country; however, this means we must be more proactive about our skin health and sun safety. UV rays from the sun damage our skin cells, which can ultimately lead to skin cancer. The risk of UV light depends on how long you are exposed, the strength of the rays, and if you are protected by sunscreen and protective clothing. UVA rays are responsible for about 95% of the UV radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface and are present all year long, even when it’s cloudy! UVB is typically present during the warmer months and is the primary cause of the dreaded sunburn. However, both play a significant role in premature skin aging and skin cancers. By regularly getting a skin cancer screening, you can ensure your skin stays healthy.
2. Skin Color
Fairer skinned individuals are at the highest risk for skin cancer. This is because individuals with darker skin types produce more melanin, a pigment in our skin that protects against the effects of sun damage. While fair skinned individuals are at a higher risk for skin cancer, that doesn’t mean individuals with darker complexions don’t get skin cancer. Therefore, it is important for everyone with all skin types to have annual total body skin exams.
Age is also a predictor of skin cancer. Older individuals are at a higher risk than younger simply because they’ve had more sun exposure. Nonetheless, skin cancer is becoming more prevalent in young people as they continue to sunbathe both in tanning booths and outside. In fact, melanoma is now eight times higher in women under age 40 than it was 40 years ago. Both young and old alike need annual skin checks.
This may come as a surprise, but there are gender differences in skin cancer susceptibility. Men are more prone than women to develop skin cancers including squamous cell carcinomas and melanoma. The skin has gender-specific differences that may explain this disparity (Giacomoni et al., 2009). Also, it has been speculated that women are more likely to be conscious of their skin and may take more precautious measures than men in protecting it. Many daily foundations women wear already contain a SPF, which is an added measure of protection that most men do not have.
5.Your Skin History
If you have had skin cancer previously, you are at a higher risk for being diagnosed with skin cancer again. Also, if anyone in your family has had skin cancer, it is essential to receive a regular skin cancer exam because you are at a higher risk for skin cancer than someone without a family history of skin cancer. Finally, someone with numerous moles (more than 50) on their skin is also at an increased risk of developing skin cancer.
If I haven’t yet convinced you to schedule your annual skin check, the following may help: about 1 in 5 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer. It only takes between 10 and 20 minutes (depending on your skin type and the number of moles and spots to be inspected) for a professional to examine your skin. In most cases when found early , skin cancer can be easily and successfully treated.