Skin Health 101: Protecting Your Health Year-Round

By Warren B. Seiler III MD

Our practice is dedicated to helping patients develop and achieve their skin goals every day. From laser treatments to medical-grade skincare products, we provide the resources people need to look great and feel their absolute best. Another important aspect of our job is to serve as an advocate for our patients’ skin health – from common concerns to more serious issues. 

May officially is recognized as Skin Cancer Awareness Month by the Skin Cancer Foundation and other national leaders in the skincare and medical industries. More than 5 million cases of skin cancer are detected annually in the United States, affecting an estimated 3.3 million individuals. This cancer comes in many different shapes and forms, and impacts people of all ages, ethnicities and complexions.

The majority of skin cancers – both melanoma and nonmelanoma – are caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation given off by the sun. While skin cancer may be the most common form of cancer, the good news is that it’s also the most preventable and treatable.

The most important thing you can do to prevent skin cancer is regularly use a medical-grade sunscreen containing zinc. We stress this a lot at our practice – and for good reason! Patients often think they only need to use a sunscreen if they’re going to be outside during the spring and summer months, but sunscreen should be a part of everyone’s daily skincare regimen and hourly reapplication is key to proper protection! Your skin is exposed to UVA and UVB rays all year long – it doesn’t matter if it’s a cold winter day or a cloudy autumn afternoon. Moreover, reapplication throughout the day is critical – one layer early in the morning simply won’t cut it. 

It’s also important to know the difference between medical-grade and over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreens. OTC sunscreens are widely unregulated, which means there are no protection standards or ingredient oversight to ensure they include the properties necessary to truly protect your skin. Medical-grade sunscreens, on the other hand, are regulated by the FDA and utilize high-quality ingredients such as zinc – the key (and only) ingredient that will block UVA light from being absorbed and causing irreversible damage to your skin. During a consultation with us, our team of experts will help you choose an option that works best for your skin type.

Just as important as it is to know the steps for preventing skin cancer, you should also be proactive in detecting potential skin abnormalities which could be cancerous. As I mentioned before, skin cancer comes in many different forms and can sometimes be difficult to spot. You should visit a board-certified dermatologist once a year for a complete skin screening to make sure you have no suspicious and potentially cancerous spots. At Seiler Skin, we actually require our patients to visit a dermatologist before undergoing any treatment and often refer them to trusted local providers. Not only does this protect you, it also helps ensure that your skin is in good condition so any treatment you receive at our practice is safe and produces the best results possible. 

So, remember, keeping skin health top-of-mind is important all year-round – not just during Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Prevention and early detection will help ensure that you don’t become a statistic! Although we are not a skin cancer dermatology practice, we live and breathe skin health – and yours is very important to us. 

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