The IndUS Network e-magazine

Beauty is skin deep ... Part 2

Skin Safety and Skin Cancer Awareness month

Image credit: Skin Cancer Foundation

Skin Cancer Causes

Excessive exposure to sunlight is the main cause of skin cancer. Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) rays that can alter the genetic material in skin cells, causing mutations. Sunlamps, tanning booths, and X-rays also generate UV rays that can damage skin and cause malignant cell mutations.
Also, people with light skin, colored hair, with abundance of moles and freckles or having a family history of skin cancer are more prone to skin cancer.

Warning Signs

The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change in the appearance of the skin, such as a new growth or a sore that will not heal.

Types of Skin Cancer

The term "skin cancer" refers to three different conditions. From the least to the most dangerous, they are:
* Basal cell carcinoma (or basal cell carcinoma epithelioma)
* Squamous cell carcinoma (the first stage of which is called actinic keratosis)
* Melanoma

Prevention Methods:

1. Limiting recreational sun exposure
2. Avoiding unprotected exposure to the sun during peak radiation times (the hours surrounding noon)
3. Wearing broad-brimmed hats and tightly-woven protective clothing while outdoors in the sun;
4. Regularly using a waterproof or water resistant sunscreen with UVA protection and SPF 30 or higher;
5. Undergoing regular checkups and bringing any suspicious-looking or changing lesions to the attention of the doctor; and
6. Avoiding the use of tanning beds and using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and protection against UVA (long waves of ultraviolet light.). Sunscreen must be applied liberally and reapplied every two to three hours, especially after swimming or physical activity that promotes perspiration, which can weaken even sunscreens labeled as "waterproof."

Cosmetics And Cancer

First of all, there is no such thing as "worn-out skin." Fortunately for us, skin is perennial, self-repairing, and virtually indestructible. But, everyone is dying to look good and lot of cosmetics and skin care products have flooded the market.

A recent study by the non-profit Environmental Working Group showed that many cosmetic products -- including more than half of all baby soaps -- contained a carcinogenic chemical. Internal studies in the cosmetics industry show that many of their products can be contaminated by a carcinogenic impurity called 1,4-dioxane. The study found 22 percent of all cosmetic and skin care products may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane. To avoid 1,4-dioxane, read ingredient labels and avoid any of the 56 cosmetic ingredients that can contain the contaminant, including "sodium laureth sulfate" and ingredients that include the clauses "PEG," "xynol," "ceteareth," and "oleth. It also found that 80 percent of all cosmetic products may be contaminated with one or more carcinogenic impurities.

In addition to 1,4-dioxane, six other major impurities are hydroquinone, ethylene dioxide, formaldehyde, nitrosamines, PAHs, and acrylamides. So, take a look at the labels before buying a cosmetic.

Video: Ways to protect yourself from Skin Cancer

The Golden Rules for Life

"Don't let someone become a priority in your life,
when you are just an option in their life.
Relationships work best when they are balanced.
-- Unknown

Disclaimer: The above content is provided for information and awareness purpose only. It is not prescriptive or suggestive or meant to replaces your qualified physician's advice or consultation.