With winter far behind us and those long, hot days of Texas summer ahead comes ample opportunities to get outside and absorb some Vitamin D. While we all love having some fun in the sun, too much of a good thing can become a problem, and this adage rings especially true when it comes to sunlight and skin cancer.
Excessive unprotected sun exposure has been linked to an increase in skin cancer risk. Too much ultraviolet radiation can permanently damage our skin cell’s DNA, eventually leading to an increased risk of skin cancer.
Experts estimate one in five Americans will encounter skin cancer and related issues at some point in their life but there are preventive steps you can take to protect yourself this summer. While using UV-protective sunscreen works wonders to protect our skin from these negative effects, it’s still important to be mindful of the early signs of skin cancer so they can be properly and promptly addressed.
Beware of Brown, Blue, or Black Spots
Throughout the seasons our skin reacts to the changes in the environment. Little changes like dryness or pigment fluctuation are all our body’s natural reactions to the seasons and are no cause for alarm.
While some variation is perfectly normal, the appearance of discolored spots or new moles can be an early warning sign of skin cancer that should be addressed immediately. Even if the mole has been examined in the past, if you start to notice a change, then it’s worth having a professional take another look. Especially so if these areas become especially tender, itchy, or painful to touch and do not disappear after several days or weeks.
If you notice new moles or discoloration appear and do not fade, then it’s best to err on the side of caution and contact the experts.
Non-healing Blisters & Sores
Summer is perhaps the most physically active month for most people, and with all this action comes the occasional blister, scrapes, and sores. While bumps and bruises need simply time to heal, if these areas are healing slowly or not at all, then this could be an early sign of skin cancer as well.
Lingering sores that become scaly or crusty with discoloration around the edges are notably worrisome as it means the body’s immune system is under considerable stress. This could mean early stages of melanoma, a type of invasive skin cancer that spreads quickly if left untreated.
Take these signs seriously as soon as they become apparent, especially if they occur after long periods of unprotected sunlight exposure. The earlier the issue is caught, the faster and more effective the solution will be.
Unusual Swelling, Rashes, and Redness
While we all love the glow of a healthy tan from the summer sun, if your skin becomes unnaturally swollen and red, then this too could be a red flag of possible skin cancer.
Monitor the area closely, and if it fails to fade and subside after a few days, then contact a medical professional immediately. These patches can be traced to everything from a mere allergic reaction to early-stage skin cancer, and time is of the essence should it be the latter.
Keeping skin healthy and protected throughout summer means not just having the right products before prolonged time outside, but a plan in place should these troublesome signs appear. While moles, blisters, and swelling are often benign and can heal on their own, there’s no sense in risking your skin’s health and the longer you wait, the worse the problem can become.
If you should ever have any questions about preventative skin practice or identifying suspect spots, then speak with a Community Pharmacy representative. Our trained staff will be happy to answer questions and recommend solutions so you can continue to enjoy that beautiful summer sun without worry.