Life Saving Dermatology Checks
Taking care of your skin
Your whole body is covered by your skin, which is a protective layer that shields your insides from all environmental threats and damaging factors. It literally helps your body stay in one piece, and it leaves outside dirt, bacteria, harmful substances and plenty of other things. Of course, this barrier isn’t perfect, and some things can get through it, but skin works as an overall first barrier of protection for your organism. As it endures wave after wave of radiation, germs, abrasion, hits and other sorts of impact you have to take care of it and make sure you give it all it needs to keep doing its job.
One of the biggest dangers that our skin faces is solar radiation. Sunlight isn’t really a bad thing in itself, in fact it makes our skin produce vitamin D which is essential for our health. However, an excess of exposure to ultraviolet rays, which are a sort of radiation present in natural sunlight and some artificial instruments like sunbeds, can harm the cells of our skin and even endanger our lives.
All of our cells have DNA inside, which is collection of huge molecules that carry all the information about how the cell should be and what it should do. When DNA becomes damaged, this information is compromised and the cell goes crazy, damaging tissues around it, growing too much and making us sick. This is called cancer, and it can affect any cell of our body. Any damage or alteration to our cells’ DNA might start a tumor.
UV rays may alter the DNA of our skin cells, thus causing skin cancer. There are several sorts of skin cancer that may affect us. The most common of them is basal cell carcinoma, which often appears on sectors of our skin that are exposed to sunlight the most, like our face, bald heads and the back of hands. It grows very slowly and it’s rarely aggressive, but it’s still cancer, and it can be diagnosed and treated. Basal cell cancer can stretch to the inside of your body and even affect your bones.
Then there’s melanoma, a rare and very aggressive sort of cancer that can spread very quickly throughout your skin and your body and is very deadly. Unless you get diagnosed early and therefore treated in time, your life will be at great risk.
Mole checkouts can save your life
This statement might sound a little extreme, but as a matter of fact people die every year of misdiagnosed skin cancer, or just because they had no diagnose at all. Skin cancer often looks like an odd mole, and people rarely become concerned about it, especially because most types of skin cancer develop slowly and people get accustomed to them, they just think they’re a feature of their skin and not a tumor. This is why it’s so important to get your skin checked regularly, especially if you have an increased risk for skin cancer. Risk factors include having fair skin and/or hair, using tanning beds and being frequently exposed to sunlight.
Few people are aware of how tanning can increase their risk of skin cancer. Tanning beds emit UV radiation. When skin cells are exposed to these rays, which are harmful, they defend by creating a dark substance that shields them from radiation. This substance is called melanin, and it’s what makes skin look darker. People with naturally darker skin have less risk of skin cancer because their high levels of melanin protect their skin cells from the harmful effects of UV rays.
A very common sign of alarm for melanoma is a sudden change in a mole; it can be a change of size, shape or colour. If you identify that you have a mole that has undergone such a change recently, you should get your skin checked immediately: melanoma can literally kill you in a matter of weeks. Early diagnosis increases your chances of survival and decreases the spreading of cancer throughout your body. Find a dermatologist in your closest GP or use an online checking service like Skincancerfacts; online diagnosis, when done right, has been proved as a useful tool to identify potentially dangerous moles in your skin. It is also suitable for detecting other skin conditions.
We suggest that you find information about skin cancer and skin risks, especially if you have one or more of the risk factors listed above. Sunbeds should be avoided as they significanlty increase your chances of having melanoma or other sorts of skin cancer. Use susncreen when exposing yourself to sunlight, wear hats and keep hydrated in the summer.