Ask a Dermatologist: What causes skin cancer and how to avoid it?
Question: What causes skin cancer and how to avoid it?
Skin cancer can be caused by many different things. UV exposure is one thing that is we can help control through the use of excellent sunscreen. I prefer that my patients use physical sunblock that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. The best manufacturer in the market, I believe, is Colorescience. They have special coatings which they have patented which are uniform and ensure longer lasting protection of their zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and they also can modulate color with iron oxide in their products. In addition, they perform clinic studies on their products which no other suncreen manufacturer does. One of their studies recently revealed that the iron oxide actually provides blue light protection which is something that all of us can benefit from as we sit in from of our computers or use our smart phones on a regular basis. Thus, now you have a company that is giving us a “new to market product”–an Enviroscreen, something which protects against UVB, UVA and blue screen damage.
Tanning beds have been a hot button to the American Academy of Dermatology and we have been fortunate that we have good lobbyists who have managed to get legislation passed to ensure that people under 18 cannot utilize tanning beds. However, many people still continue to seek this out as a type of addictive behavior. We are seeing melanoma skin cancers rise at an alarming rate. Squamous cell skin cancers as well account for a significant amount of deaths each year.
Genetics do contribute to all types of skin cancer, but I am quick to tell my patients that their genetics only play 20% into what will happen to them. If they are careful and really pay attention to their lifestyle, diet, exercise and sun protection, they can modulate their risk for all types of cancer, including skin cancer.
Dr. Ellen Turner is a double board-certified dermatologist with practices in Dallas and Irving, Texas. She specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology, as well as anti-aging and regenerative medicine.
To schedule an appointment, please call 214-373-7546.Written by Dallas Dermatologist Dr. Ellen Turner.