What is skin cancer?

Individuals who engage in outdoor sports spend a lot of time exposed to the sun. Excessive exposure to the sun can damage the skin in various ways. Initially, it attacks the epidermis which is the outermost skin layer. After some time, it damages the upper layers of the dermis which makes it thinner, less resilient and prone to wrinkling.

After some time, the elastin and collagen fibers that form the dermis eventually break down. This results to the gradual sagging and drooping of the skin.

How to identify skin cancer

It is important to note that the sun can change the nature of the melanocyte cells. These are the cells that cause the skin to turn tan, thus making them abnormal and even malignant in rare cases.

Forms of skin cancer

Skin-cancer

Excessive exposure to the sun can damage the skin in various ways.

Basal cell

This is a non-melanoma type of skin cancer and the most common type of basal-cell skin cancer that manifests on the face or other areas exposed to the sun. Since the growths are usually red and small, it is often mistaken as a persistent pimple. This form rarely spreads to the internal organs but if left untreated for many years, can even eat away the skin.

Squamous cell

This is a non-melanoma type of skin cancer that can kill. This type manifests in sun-exposed area and typically manifest as slightly scaly or hard patches that will not heat. This cancer poses a greater potential to spread internally.

Melanoma

This type is uncommon but a deadly type of skin cancer. As long as detected immediately and early, it can be completely cured. Melanoma typically manifests as dark or multi-colored growth that prevalently occurs on the face but can happen on other body parts. In addition, it is closely linked to intermittent but intense exposure to the sun such as a bad case of sunburn.

Skin protection

The best way to protect the skin from sun exposure is to utilize sunscreen and sunblock that contain sun protection factor (SPF). These products have a chemical filter that works similar to a sponge that absorbs the harmful UVA and UVB rays and converts them into infrared heat or simply act as a physical barrier that contains zinc oxide and titanium oxide which reflects the rays away from the skin before any damage.

It is recommended to look for products that provide protection for both UVA and UVB rays. There are sunscreens that not only block the ultraviolet B light of the sun but also the ultraviolet A light.

SPF 30 is recommended for daily use and SPF 40 or higher is recommended for prolonged use. The usual mistake is depending on sunscreen in makeup products. In most cases, the SPF in makeup products is not high enough to provide adequate protection. The sunscreen in a daily moisturizer is a better option since it is applied evenly all over the face for better protection.

In addition, the sun still burns through the clouds even during cloudy days. Engaging in activities even during cloudy days still requires the use of sunscreen products.

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