Your Skin Deserves Protection: Understanding Melanoma

father applying sunblock cream on daughters shoulder, sun protection

father applying sunblock cream on daughters shoulder, sun protection

Don’t let having a sun-kissed tan rid your skin of its youth prematurely. Vitamin D is essential for a healthy lifestyle, but may people are abusing the power of the sun, to their own detriment. Sunblock is one of the most important long-term medical benefits that you can offer yourself because it WILL protect you from the harmful rays of the sun. Being exposed to too much sunlight will increase the speed at which you get wrinkles, and even worse, can cause skin cancer.

Understanding SPF

Sun Protection Factor determines the extent of a sunblock’s protection against harmful UV rays. A part of your healthy lifestyle depends on your understanding and correct use of sun protection. When choosing an SPF you should consider how much time you will be spending in the sun. Lower SPF (5-15) is best suited for everyday use and should especially be found in face cream, while high SPF (15-60) is suitable for days that you are planning on bathing in the sun for a long period of time. Children should especially wear sunblock on a daily basis, whereas protective hats etc. are vital on days of scorching sun.

What is melanoma?

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and is developed when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations (genetic defects) that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumours.

The ABCDE’s of melanoma

It is extremely important that people recognise on their own bodies or a family member’s body when a mole or skin pigmentation looks dangerous. The medical benefits that come from detecting a malignant mole in its early stages may save a life. When inspecting a mole, there are 4 things that you should look out for:

Asymmetry: if you divide your mole in half and the one half does not match the other half (it is asymmetrical), then there may be something wrong with the mole.

Border: the border of a malignant mole is rough and uneven around the edges instead of the usual smooth and healthy mole with even edges.

Colour: another warning sign of a malignant mole is if the mole is different colours. This could be different shades of brown, but black, blue and white are also common colours found on malignant moles.

Diameter: malignant moles are usually larger in diameter, though it is not always safe to say that a small mole is benign. The diameter is also influenced by the border, i.e. if you see your mole is bigger in diameter because of uneven edges, your mole may be malignant.

Evolving: malignant moles normally change in appearance all the time. If and when moles do change shape, colour or form it should happen so slowly that you wouldn’t even notice a difference for years. Malignant moles, however, may show quick and unexpected signs of change.

You may want to read more on detoxifying your skin for a healthy lifestyle.