November is National Healthy Skin Month, making it a great time to give your skin a good self-scan or schedule an annual visit to the dermatologist. Not only is your skin your body’s largest organ, but your skin also reveals a lot about your overall health and works hard over the course of a lifetime.
National Healthy Skin Month encourages good skin care habits
Skin cancer prevention and awareness inspired National Healthy Skin Month, which is back by the American Academy of Dermatology. Many people don’t realize skin cancer is the most common cancer worldwide. According to Skin Cancer Foundation:
- 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70
- More than 2 people in the U.S. die of skin cancer every hour
- Having more than 5 sunburns doubles your melanoma risk
- Squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma are the two most common types
- Melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer, but highly treatable if detected early
Celebrate National Healthy Skin Month by following these tips:
- Be mindful of good skin care habits all year long
- Wash your face every day with a gentle cleanser.
- Determine your skin type and avoid products that aggravate skin conditions.
- Take time to rest and chill out. As the holidays approach, schedules get hectic, sweets are all around, and stress makes your skin break out.
- Make sure to get a good night’s sleep – seven to nine hours – and exercise in the fresh air.
- Try to get a daily dose of Vitamin D from the sun or supplement with D3 to fend off seasonal depression and support healthy bones and skin.
- Stay hydrated by drinking eight glasses of water (or more) daily and watch your alcohol intake. Water flushes out toxins, reduces puffiness, and makes wrinkles less visible – alcohol does the opposite.
- Lather on a heavier lotion or skin cream after showers, use a lip balm with SPF protection and wear sunscreen while doing winter sports. The AAD also recommends petroleum jelly for dry skin and other skin issues.
- Apply an SPF 30 daily in any kind of weather. Sunscreen protects against ultraviolet rays and other environmental exposure that accelerates aging.
- Perform monthly self-skin exams to look for changes to moles and spots with unusual shapes or colors, which can lead to skin cancer. In addition, skin changes including itching or a rash can be the first sign of other health issues.
- If you have skin cancer risk factors — family history, multiple moles, freckles, red hair, or fair skin that burns easily — see a dermatologist annually. The AAD offers free screenings in certain locations.
Give Your Skin A Little Extra This Winter
As you bundle up this winter, don’t forget to give your skin some extra attention. Noting any changes and telling your doctor provides important clues about your overall health. Ongoing acne, itching, or a rash could indicate an allergic reaction, infection, autoimmune disease, or onset of a chronic skin condition such as psoriasis.
November is a great time to schedule a checkup with your dermatologist, especially if you have already met your deductible for the year or anticipate insurance changes in the New Year.
Contact APDerm if you are concerned about unusual spots or other persistent skin problems or want to schedule a skin cancer screening.