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May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Every year the American Academy of Dermatology encourages increased awareness of skin cancer during their SPOT Skin Cancer campaign. This year their campaign highlights the fact that women are nine times more likely than men to notice melanoma (a type of skin cancer) on others.

Skin cancer, including melanoma, is a very treatable condition, especially when detected early. The American Academy of Dermatology wants you to “Check Your Partner. Check Yourself.” See the infographic below for more information on how to detect signs of skin cancer on your partner or click here to print out a PDF copy.

If you see something that you are concerned about, have questions, or need to schedule your annual skin exam, you can call our office to schedule an appointment.

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Tanning Beds

Just about the single healthiest thing you can do for your skin is to avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds compound the aging process, increasing appearance of unwanted wrinkles and age spots earlier in life. It also increases your chance of developing a skin cancer. Tanning beds magnify skin’s exposure to harmful UV rays and their use should be completely avoided. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, those who start tanning before the age of 35 raise their risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by almost 75 percent.

More states are starting to implement restrictions for tanning bed use by minors. In 2014, Washington State banned tanning bed use for those under the age of 18 with the support of State Senators King, Darneille, Kohl-Welles, Hewitt, Conway, and Frockt. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, at least 42 states regulate the use of tanning by minors and 13 states ban all use for those under 18.

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, estimates that a national ban on tanning bed use for those 14 or younger would prevent almost 62,000 cases of melanoma, 6,700 melanoma deaths, and $343 million in treatment costs. A total ban on tanning bed use for all ages? Such a ban is estimated to save 23,000 lives from melanoma!

Teenagers in particular may be unaware of the facts or underestimate the consequences of tanning bed use. This study highlights how such a ban would positively impact our nation’s health and healthcare costs. It also serves as a reminder to take great care of our skin, as UV damage can dramatically affect our health at any time in our lives.

Hair Loss All at Once

Have you ever noticed changes in your hair? In fact, each hair on your body goes through three phases throughout its lifetime:

  • Anagen: active hair growth that can last anywhere from two to seven years

  • Catagen: a transition period that lasts two to three weeks

  • Telogen: a resting phase that can last two to three months; at the end the hair is shed and replaced by a new hair to start again

Most of the time, we notice hair growth because most of the hairs on our head are in the anagen phase. However, sometimes this cycle becomes disrupted and many more hairs enter the telogen phase early. Telogen effluvium is a type of hair loss characterized by increased hair fallout after a big life change, stressful event, or changes in the body’s health.

Telogen effluvium can be alarming because there is sudden increased hair shedding all over the scalp and without apparent cause. However, this condition almost always resolves on its own without any treatment! Immediately once the trigger for telogen effluvium is removed, all of the shedded hair will be replaced by new hairs after about two to three months (at the end of the telogen phase). Hair growth will resume as normal.

Although telogen effluvium requires no treatment, your dermatologist may wish to check your health to be sure there is no illness that could be causing hair loss. Please visit a doctor if you ever notice sudden changes in your body.