As we age, we usually become more and more concerned with things we can do to look and feel younger. One of the biggest contributing factors to how we look as we age is our skin. Whether it’s wrinkles on our face, varicose veins on our legs or moles that are not only unsightly but could also be dangerous, it’s important to know that all of these issues can be treated and most of the time improved by visiting a skin or vein health professional.
Although we all want to keep our skin looking great, the most important thing is keeping it healthy (and the two go hand in hand). That’s why it’s vital that you know the fact on skin cancer and how to prevent it.
Did you know that skin cancer and melanoma account for about 50% of all types of cancers diagnosed? That skin cancer is one of the more preventable types of cancer? That more than 90% of skin cancer is caused by excessive exposure to the sun? Or that each hour, one person dies from skin cancer? Learning the facts about skin cancer is the first step to staying cancer free.
According to Complete Family Dermatology, skin cancer is divided into two categories: melanoma and non-melanoma. Melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer. Although serious, non-melanomas such as Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma are rarely life threatening and much easier to treat. Melanoma accounts for 4% of skin cancers cases diagnosed.
Symptoms of non-melanoma skin cancer include: a small lump (spot or mole) that is shiny, waxy, pale in color, and smooth in texture; A red lump (spot or mole) that is firm; A sore or spot that bleeds or becomes crusty (also look for sores that don’t heal); Rough and scaly patches on the skin; Flat scaly areas of the skin that are red or brown; Any new growth that is suspicious. Keep in mind that these growths are usually painless.
Melanoma is usually visible as a single dark skin spot. It may appear on any skin surface, but most commonly develops on the back, chest and legs. About two-thirds of the time, melanoma develops on normal-looking skin, and one-third of the time, it grows out of an existing mole.
It is recommended that everyone perform regular skin self-examination to look for abnormal skin changes. It is also recommended to have a yearly clinical skin exam by your dermatologist, who is a skin specialist and has more experience in screening for skin cancer.
Remember the key to preventing skin cancer is taking the necessary precautions: Apply generous amounts of sunscreen with sun protection fact of at least 15; Wear protective sunglasses, clothing, and broad-brimmed hats; avoid the peak hours of sun intensity (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.); ask your doctor if your medications increase your sensitivity to the sun, because many medications make your skin more vulnerable to sun damage; and avoid tanning salons. If you want to appear tan, use commercial sunless tanning
After you have taken the necessary precautions to prevent skin cancer, you can move on to the cosmetic aspect of skin care and keeping your skin youthful looking. “At JMISKO surgical design md, we provide many solutions for your skincare needs,” says Dr. Justin Misko. “These include medical grade skincare products, HydraFacial treatments, medical grade peels and microdermabrasian treatments, Botox and fillers and SmartXide DOT skin resurfacing/rejuvenation laser treatment, which is ideal for the treatment of sun damage, brown spots, fine lines, wrinkles, skin laxity/texture and acne scars.”
Of course, taking precautions to minimize damage to the skin is the most important part of skin care. Dr. Misko suggests, “Avoid the sun between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun’s rays are the strongest is a good idea. You should also wear protective clothing when you’ll be out in the sun, including protective eye wear and use sunscreen. Though your skin may be less dry in summer months, don’t skip the moisturizer! Just switch to a lighter formula. It’s also very important to exfoliate your skin as dead skin sitting on your face makes it look dull and dry. If you smoke, take steps to stop immediately as smoking damages collagen and elastin as well as narrows blood vessels in the outermost layer of skin. Finally, a healthy diet can help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. The association between diet and acne isn’t clear — but research suggests that a diet rich in vitamin C and low in fats and carbohydrates may promote younger looking skin.”
Vein health is another issue that can seriously impact quality of life and is another issue that becomes more prominent with age. According to Dr. Eric Vander Woude of Advanced Vein Institute at Advanced Medical Imaging, “Vein problems (including spider and varicose veins), which affect up to 40% of American women and 15% of American men, are not only an unsightly problem, but they can also be a very painful one that seriously impact’s an individual’s life. Varicose veins can have a number of symptoms, including severe aching, throbbing and swelling of the ankles and feet as well as the visible symptoms most of us think of. If left untreated, varicose veins can lead to venous ulcers, which are chronic, can take months to heal and run the risk of becoming infected and leading to more serious problems.”
Dr. Vander Woude goes on to say, “There is a genetic component to getting varicose veins and children of those who experience them are also at risk of developing them later in life. Pregnancy is also a risk factor, which explains why significantly more women than men experience this issue. Age and having a job where you stand and are relatively immobile for long periods of time also contribute to the possibility of developing varicose veins.”
Fortunately, there is treatment for varicose veins and it is usually a minimally invasive procedure with very little recovery time. “Many people are still under the impression that varicose veins can only be treated by stripping and ligation, which was an old procedure that could leave scarring and nerve damage and take months to recover from. Now we can offer a treatment called EndoVenous Laser Treatment (EVLT), which uses laser energy to damage the vein cells of the failed vein that is causing the issue. The damaged vein then scars down and the problem is resolved. This procedure is minimally invasive and most patients experience only some bruising and can usually return to work the very next day.”
It’s important to note that varicose veins are not just a cosmetic problem. “We get a lot of women who express doubts that they should even be coming in for treatment,” says Dr. Vander Woude. “But when it comes down to it, varicose veins can seriously impact your quality of life and keep you from doing the things you love. It is not a cosmetic issue and you should seek treatment just as you would for any other painful or dangerous medical condition.”
Maintaining your skin and vein health is vitally important, not just so you can continue looking your best as you age, but also to prevent issues that can cause pain or even be fatal if left untreated. Make sure you are taking precautions to keep your skin and veins at optimal health and work with professionals in the industry for advice, products and, if needed, treatments.