Welwood | Preventing Skin Cancer
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Preventing Skin Cancer

I’ve felt inspired by the AFL player Jarryd Roughead (you may have recently caught on the news that he had a melanoma removed from his face) to talk about why we could all benefit from learning how to prevent skin cancers from forming as early as possible.
This topic is so close to my heart and one that I harp on about all day long with clients, family & friends.
The world we live in is no longer the environmentally friendly place it once was. This gives us all the more reason to learn how to protect our precious skin from the damaging effects of pollution, environmental irritants and prolonged sun exposure – the sooner the better.

We are constantly being bombarded with radiation from the sun, computer screens and artificial lighting, which all emit a massive amount of UVA/UVB (the A stands for ageing 😳). Further to this, industrial waste has polluted the atmosphere and the contaminants directly affect our skin. Some pollutants have deprived us of the protective qualities of the stratosphere. The thinning of the ozone layer is a reality, subjecting us to more intensive ultra-violet radiation and the corrosive effects of free radicals.

A very thin membrane separates us from all of these irritants. This delicate but amazingly efficient organ, that we call the epidermis of the skin, is our only protection against an increasingly hostile environment. As the sun’s damaging effects only tend to present themselves later in life, it is important to educate our children to become sun-wise, in order to avoid wrinkled damaged skin as well as skin cancer in later years.

The frightening increase in skin cancer has led to scientific predictions that 1 in 75 children born in the year 2000 will develop a melanoma within their lifetime. Living in 2015, I fear that this number is only continuing to climb.

The good news is that we can prevent it in most cases – but we have to be PROactive about it!

Today, melanoma is one of the most common skin problems for men and women, especially in the fair-skinned folk living within the sun belt of the world.

It is amazing to bask in the vital energy of the sun & the great news is that we still can. However, we must do so with the correct protection and nourishment for our skin.

Our skin cells are made up of about 93% retinal palmitate (Vit A) which allows them to function optimally.

What we know as “sun-spots” (or keratoses) are the eventual result of damaged DNA of irradiated cells, which then grow as a clone of abnormal cells and ultimately result in either keratoses or skin cancers.

Normally these cells would be removed by an effective immune system soon after they develop. However, because the Langerhans cells (the ones that would carry out this removal naturally) are rendered inactive by solar irradiation, the defective cells can thrive within an impaired immune system. This creates a clone or group of identical cells that slowly multiply and eventually become visible.

The long-term effects of our Australian climate are very damaging, but due to the cultural acceptance of a “bronzed Aussie”, most people consider pigmentation and damaged skin to be a natural part of ageing. People also attribute their wrinkled skin to a very dry climate rather than photo-ageing.

We must begin to recognise sun damage as a skin disease caused by the sun/pollution and not a condition caused by time. The long-term effects of sun exposure & free radicals are sinister – skin cancer may occur either as a simple rogue ulcer or in a more malignant form. The damage caused by the sun is called photo-damage or photo-ageing, and is preventable.

With the current climatic conditions in mind, increase of skin cancer and following the loss of two young patients early in his career to melanoma, Dr Desmond Fernandes a world-leading plastic surgeon was inspired to pioneer skin cosmeceuticals to supply vitamin A, C and other antioxidants at effective medical dosages to combat skin cancer head on. Enter: Environ.

Dr Des believes in giving people tools to be proactive in preventing skin cancer and slowing photo-ageing in its tracks. products are not created equal and medical cosmetics are VERY different to those available over-the-counter – even those which promise the “latest and most effective” molecules to rejuvenate skin.

My favourite choice as a holistic dermal therapist is Environ. Its topical vitamins are of the highest quality in the world, from how they are made to the freshness and stability of the packaging, as well as its affordable price point. I can use them to re-build vitamin-depleted skin helping us all to become more resilient in our harsh environment and boosting the vitamin levels in the skin. This is the key to helping to prevent skin cancer – a cell cannot mutate and allow disease if it is at peak immunity and full cell-function.

Applying topical active dosage of Retinol Palmertate & antioxidants, as well as a physical SPF daily is how we help to turn back the clock.

My check list for SPF is:

– No higher then a 15+ – 25+ ✔️

– Titanium dioxide, zinc, antioxidants ✔️

– Physical barrier with organic and inorganic particles ✔️

Simply applying the right skincare daily will both help to replenish the starving cells of their fuel source (Vit A) and protect it from the environment that is robbing and damaging it.