How To Get Young, Healthy Skin — Interview With Sun Damage And Skin Cancer Specialist

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Want gorgeous skin without makeup, like moms Amber Valletta and Cindy Crawford?

  Want to know how you can protect your skin from mellanoma and sun damage, while reducing the signs of aging? Bailey Vincent Clark from Makeover Momma was lucky enough to interview Dr. Richard Bezozo (who has appeared in USA Today, on CBS News and more), and jumped at the chance to get his expert opinion on protecting our skin…

   Dr. B is a notable internist and the president of MoleSafe USA.  He has created the blog Melanoma Updates to raise awareness around the dangers of skin cancer  and sun exposure…and he wears SPF 60 every day!

1) As the founder of a melanoma awareness blog and president of an early skin cancer detection service, MoleSafe, what do you think is the biggest misconception about skin cancer and melanoma in America today?

 The biggest misconception about melanoma and skin cancer is that the at-risk population is only a small percentage of people in specific regions of the world. While some countries like Australia and New Zealand are exposed to more intense sunlight, every region of the world receives enough to cause damage; while some people have a higher chance of developing melanoma depending on genetics and skin tone, everyone in the world is at risk.  As a physician practicing medicine for 24 years, I have heard the “it won’t happen to me” phrase continuously.  People have a tendency to be reactive instead of proactive when it comes to skin care and protection. Unfortunately, it often takes a tragic experience like the loss of a family friend or relative to realize the severity of melanoma.

2) I recently had two large biopsies taken out of my back, and they are taking forever to heal. Women seem to not realize the large consequences (and even larger scars) that tanning and sun exposure leave behind… What should every woman do to protect their skin daily?

 Having those biopsies makes this disease very real to you, indeed. The simplest thing that a woman can do to protect her skin daily is to choose a make-up and body moisturizer that contains SPF.  This simple step will provide a foundation of defense against constant sun exposure to the face and body while decreasing sun burns and other skin damage.

3) My brother had melanoma (while mother, sister and various other first-hand relatives have had multiple skin cancers), so I am proud to protect my natural (pail) skin color. Can you explain what tanning really does to our skin?

 Sun tans are a symptom of damaged skin. The ultra violate radiation stimulates the melanocytes to produce more melanin or dark pigment.  These cells are found in the upper level of the skin.  This pigment production is a natural effect of the ultra violet radiation, so the tanner you get, the more damage is done. Over exposure and repetitive exposure of the skin to the ultra violet rays or from a tanning booth damages these melanocytes and many other cell types in the skin. This damage is cumulative and ultimately leads to premature aging, such as wrinkles or age spots, skin cancer and can damage the eyes

4) What sunscreen do you use every morning, and what other steps do you recommend women taking to prevent (or reduce) the signs of sun damage?

 I personally apply a sun screen with an SPF of 60 each day. When I am spending time in the sun, I re-apply the sun screen numerous times throughout the day. In addition, I have begun to wear sun protective clothing.  Purchasing hats and shirts with UV protection for the whole family will help block as much as 95% of the harmful rays of the sun. There are also UV protected umbrellas which are good investments for you and your family’s beach days. Also keep in mind, although summer has ended, the sun hasn’t left. There are countless ways to take precaution while out in the sun year round. Here are some of the Skin Cancer Foundation’s skin cancer prevention tips to keep in mind:

– Seek the shade, especially between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.

– Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.

– Use a sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher every day.

– Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) total of sunscreen to all exposed areas, 30 minutes before going outside. Re-apply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.

– Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV blocking sunglasses.

– Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.

– Examine your skin from head-to-toe every month.

– See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

* Stay tuned this month for our Beauty Momma video post about the right sunscreen for busy moms, and check out our exclusive story on Melanoma Updates!


Answer This: What is the easiest way for you fit sunscreen into your daily routine?

Credit: Photos courtesy of Harpers Bazaar

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One comment on “How To Get Young, Healthy Skin — Interview With Sun Damage And Skin Cancer Specialist
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