ask our HEALTH experts
Q: How can I keep tabs on potential skin cancer risks?
with Doctor Karen Gebusion
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Australia, however clinical protocols do not recommend a population-wide skin cancer screening.
It is therefore vital that we should be aware of our skin and any suspicious changes. Regular self-checking aims to find new or changing lesions that could be cancerous or precancerous. For most of us, a monthly check is ideal, however if you have fair skin, blue/green eyes, fair or red hair, plenty of freckles or a family history of melanoma, you may have a higher risk and need more frequent checks.
Ten minutes of your time could be life saving, so be systematic, checking from head-to-toe:
- Using a mirror, examine your face, including your eyes.
- With the hairdryer, expose each section of your scalp.
- Carefully check the hands and forearms. Examine your nails and underneath them, too.
- Stand in front of the mirror and scan all sides of your elbows, upper arms and armpits.
- Check your neck, chest, torso and under the breasts. Skin cancer can appear even on areas not frequently exposed to the sun.
- Stand with your back to a full-length mirror. Use the hand mirror to check your neck and upper back.
- Continue checking your lower back, buttocks and the back of your legs.
- Sit down and use the hand mirror to check your legs down to your feet, carefully inspecting in between the toes and toenails. Lastly, examine the genitals.
Look for changes of any kind, such as an increase in mole or freckle size, colour, texture and outline. Be alert for any spot that is nonhealing, itchy, crusty and painful. If you spot any warning signs, do not delay. See your GP immediately.
Also talk to your doctor about your risk and early detection of skin cancers, and above all, be sun smart. Slip, slop, slap, seek and slide.
MD COSMETIC AND SKIN CLINIC
Shop 7, 87 The Esplanade, Mooloolaba
Phone: 5452 5720
Q: I’ve seen a lot about treatment for damaged skin, but what can I do to keep it healthy in the first place?
TIPS FOR HEALTHY SKIN
with Paula Kelly
Drink six to eight glasses of water daily
Have you noticed your skin looking a little dry and dull lately? If so, you might not be drinking enough water. Try it for a week, and note the improvements. It may sound like a lot, but it will leave your skin looking youthful, bright, and glowing, and may even help reduce acne!
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
They are not only good for your body, but they are great for your skin, as they are full of vitamins and antioxidants. Certain ones help with certain things too:
- Apricots, blueberries and yellow bell peppers contain antioxidants, which have anti-ageing properties.
- Avocados help hydrate your skin.
- Carrots help improve complexion.
- Pumpkin and kiwifruit help keep your skin soft, smooth, and youthful.
- Tomatoes help protect your skin against sun damage.
- Shower or bathe in lukewarm water
Hot water can feel relaxing, but it can also strip your skin of its natural oils. This can lead to dry, patchy skin. If you have dry skin, use a moisturising body wash with natural oils, such as almond, coconut or olive oil.
Slip, slop, slap!
Sun damage builds up over time, so it’s important to use sunscreen every day, even if it’s cloudy. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation and re-apply it to your entire body every two hours, or every hour if you are swimming or sweating. Also be careful not to use sunscreens if they have expired.
SHEER BLISS BEAUTY DAY SPA
Phone: 5474 0884