Blog Archives

May is Melanoma Awareness Month – The Facts You Should Know

fair skinI talk to you often about the importance of protecting yourself from the damaging UV sun rays – for anti-aging prevention of wrinkles, as well as more extreme damage such as skin cancer.

May is Melanoma Awareness Month, and here I will discuss this subject in more depth, and give you tips on how you can protect yourself and your loved ones, and help prevent this deadly disease.

The latest statistics from the American Academy of Dermatology show that skin cancer affects one in five Americans, and more than 1 million new cases are diagnosed each year.

Of these cases, more than 65,000 are melanoma, a cancer that claims nearly 11,000 lives each year.

However, if detected and treated in its earliest stages, melanoma is often curable with various skin cancer treatment options.

Studies reported by the American Academy of Dermatology have confirmed that sun exposure is responsible for the development of at least two-thirds of all melanomas.

Furthermore, it is estimated that 80% of a person’s lifetime sun damage occurs before the age of 18, a significant portion of which occurs during peak sun hours and in the summer.

Studies have shown that sunburn is often the result of incorrect use of sunscreen. Since people frequently apply only 20 to 50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen, they only receive 20 to 50 percent of the SPF

UV exposure is greatest when the sun is highest in the sky between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. It is also greatest in the summer, at higher altitudes, and nearer the equator.

And remember that up to 80% of the sun’s rays can penetrate light clouds, mist and fog.

PROTECT YOURSELF:
Follow these sun protection guidelines:

• Avoid outdoor activities between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the strongest

• Seek shade whenever possible

• Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher

• Wear sun-protective clothing and accessories, such as wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses

• Follow the “Shadow Rule” — if your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun’s damaging rays are at their strongest and you are likely to burn

In addition, I recommend that you conduct a monthly self exam to check for changes in moles, warts and other blemishes on the skin, especially areas which are exposed to the sun.

Detection is still the most important tool for catching skin cancer early—and treating it effectively.

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The Anti-Aging Challenges of Different Skin Colors – and Their Solutions – Part 2

blondIn this 2-Part series, Dr. Tess is sharing the advice she gave on her recent appearance on the CBS TV show “The Talk,”about the anti-aging challenges of different skin colors and the skin care products that can make each skin type younger-looking and as beautiful as possible.

In Part 1 Dr. Tess looked at the skin colors of brown, medium, and olive.  Now in Part 2 Dr. Tess discusses light and fair skin colors.

4. LIGHT SKIN – APPLY PRODUCTS WITH LICORICE EXTRACT AND CHAMOMILE
Soothe a light complexion with an anti-redness lotion or moisturizer. These use ingredients like licorice root extract and chamomile to calm ruddy skin over the long term.

Licorice extract and chamomile (also called bisabolol) both have anti-inflammatory properties. Some anti-redness products are tinted green so they temporarily neutralize redness.

Visit Your Dermatologist at Least Once a Year 

People with light skin may have growths on their skin that are rough, scaly and do not go away, no matter how many times you peel or apply products on them, you may have “Actinic Keratoses” or AKs, which must be treated before they turn into skin cancers.

You should also have your moles checked regularly.

Even though the signs of aging are accelerated when you have light skin, there are so many technologies, like lasers to reverse the signs of sun damage, that works so much better and safer on light skin.

5. FAIR SKIN – BUY SKIN PRODUCTS LABELED “HYPOALLERGENIC”
Look for products formulated for sensitive skin and those labeled “hypoallergenic,” meaning it’s less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

Fair skin was not designed to enjoy the California sun or be tanned.  There is very little natural protection from ultraviolet exposure and sun damage, so the aging process is accelerated.  If you’re out in the sun, wear over-sized hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect your fair skin from burning.

Skip cosmetics and skincare items containing fragrances, soap and alcohol. Fair skin is easily aggravated and can sting or burn in response to these products.  Avoid tanning – get used to spray tanning instead, if you like that look.  There is no such thing as a safe tan.