Alumier Skin Experts / May 10, 2019
With it being Melanoma Awareness Month, we wanted to take a closer look at this serious form of skin cancer. When it comes to practicing safe sun care, logic dictates to protect your exposed skin from the sun’s harmful UVB and UVA rays since repeated exposure can lead to various forms of skin damage, including development of melanoma. However, did you know that even unexposed skin can develop melanoma as well?
What is Melanoma?
First, let’s talk about melanoma. This is one of the more serious forms of cancer. Melanin, which is your skin’s pigment, is created by cells called melanocytes. Melanoma occurs when those cells become cancerous.
Melanoma sets itself apart from other forms of cancer as it is visible to the naked eye on your skin. According to the Melanoma Network of Canada, men are more likely to get melanomas on their back, trunk or head while women are more likely to get them on their arms and legs. Melanoma can easily metastasize to other parts of the body once it reaches the dermis, which is the thick layer located directly under the epidermis (the top layer of your skin).
Melanoma is one of the fastest growing cancers worldwide. In Canada alone, the cases of melanoma have tripled in the last 30 years. If melanoma is detected early, this can lead to a high survival rate.
What Causes Melanoma?
The leading cause of melanoma is the sun’s UVA and UVB rays or UV from artificial sources such as tanning beds and sunlamps. Early use of tanning beds (before the age of 35) can increase the likelihood of getting melanoma by a whopping 75%.
Family history also plays a part. If your parents, siblings or children have melanoma, you are at a greater risk as well.
Complexion has a connection, too. Melanoma is twenty times more common in Caucasians who have light-colored skin, hair and eyes compared to those with a darker complexion. However, regardless of complexion, practicing safe sun care with broad-spectrum sunscreen is essential because melanoma does not discriminate against age, sex or complexion.
Cloudy with a Chance of UV
It’s important to note, that just because it’s cloudy outside, that doesn’t mean that you are at a lesser risk of being exposed to the UV rays. The UV rays come through even on cloudy, rainy and snowy days. The last one is especially risky as the reflective nature of snow can increase unprotected skin exposure to UV rays.
Here are more critical stats from the Melanoma Network of Canada:
– One blistering sunburn doubles a person’s chance of developing melanoma.
– Melanoma is one of the most common types of cancer for those between the ages of 15-29.
– In the 1930s, the lifetime risk of melanoma was 1 in 1500. Today it’s 1 in 63.
– In North America, one person dies of melanoma every hour.
– Over 1200 Canadians die from melanoma each year.
Melanoma and Unexposed Skin
As noted earlier, not only can melanoma occur on exposed skin, it can also be found in areas where there is little or no exposure to UV rays.
Because of the lighter complexion connection, the unexposed areas that have lighter pigment can also develop melanoma, such as areas of the mouth, vagina, soles of feet, palms of hands and under the nails.
According to published findings in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, melanoma occurring on unexposed areas or on areas of the skin that have very little sun exposure most often occur in Asians, Filipinos, Blacks, Indonesians, and native Hawaiians.
Protect Your Skin and Save The Coral Reef
In the spirit of Earth Month, this additional tidbit is timely: Did you know that the chemical UV filters, often found in sunscreens, contribute to coral bleaching which eventually leads to the destruction of coral reefs? AlumierMD’s sunscreens contain only physical and mineral sunscreen filters, which do not do any harm to the coral reef.
What Can You Try:
What: Sheer Hydration SPF 40 in Untinted/Versatile Tint
Skin Type: Dry/Normal/Combination
Why: Boosted by zinc oxide and titanium dioxide—powerful UV fighting ingredients—it also includes the moisturizing power of vitamin E. This broad-spectrum sunscreen also boasts free-radical-quenching antioxidants, including a stable vitamin C, resveratrol, grape seed extract, and glutathione. You can also swap your foundation for the tinted version of Sheer Hydration to give your skin a healthy glow.
What: Moisture Matte SPF 40 Ivory/ Sand/Amber
Skin Type: Normal/Combination/Oily Skin
Why: In addition to zinc oxide and titanium oxide, it also has antioxidants like caffeine, silybin and knotgrass extract. This formula is especially geared to hydrate as well as moisturize while absorbing excess oil to create a matte finish. The cutting-edge, color-encapsulated beads blend on the skin, creating a sheer tint and healthy glow. Give your foundation a break and use the tinted version to get that extra oomph in glow.
What: Clear Shield Broad Spectrum 42
Skin Type: Normal/Combination/Oily Skin
Why: This is super lightweight and quick-drying sunscreen uses the fighting power of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to battle against those harmful UVA and UVB rays. The skin’s redness is also soothed by niacinamide while the sodium hyaluronate gives the skin the moisture it needs.
Be sure to keep extra stock of sunscreen by your side and keep an eye on your skin. Melanoma, if caught early, can lead to a high survival rate. So always remember to practice safe sun care!