In days past, tanned skin was a faux-paux; while those with porcelain white skin were admired. Nowadays, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. People with sun-kissed skin are admired and complimented; while, porcelain white skin is seen as taboo.
People are drawn to Arizona for the 300 days of clear, blue skies and brightly, shining sun. What people do not realize is that skin cancer in Arizona is, and has been, a growing concern.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, Arizona is ranked #2 in the world, just behind the gold coast of Australia, for skin cancer.
Unfortunately, this year alone, one million people will be diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States, alone!
Living in Arizona it is important to be aware of the two types of sun rays that penetrate through the earth atmosphere: UVA and UVB.
The UVA rays are mainly aging rays that cause damage to DNA and collagen cells; while, harming the dermis. The UVB rays are mainly burning rays that stay in the epidermis, or superficial layers. UVB rays cause your melanocytes to produce melanin (tanning capabilities) and can cause a burn, which can lead to the beginning stages of skin cancer.
In our sunny desert climate, the most important hours of the day to use sunscreen is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Even on a rare, cloudy day the sun ultraviolet rays penetrate through the clouds, causing your skin to burn.
Those who burn easily are at a greater risk of developing skin cancer. Certain characteristics can make you more susceptible such as: blue eyes, red or blond hair, or if you are prone to freckles and/or have light skin.
There is one easy way to protect yourself and prevent damage to your skin: using an FDA approved sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays like the Anthelios line from La Roche-Posay.
The Anthelios sunscreen holds the patent technology of three sun filters: Octocrylene, Parsol 1789, and Mexoryl SX. The Anthelios sunscreen gives you complete broad-spectrum protection.
Don’t become a statistic because you forgot to use your sunscreen. To learn more about skin cancer please visit us online at http://www.nvpsaz.com/skin/skin-cancer.
Steven Gitt, MD, FACS
North Valley Plastic Surgery; Phoenix, Arizona.