I finally had my in person dermatologist visit yesterday. Earlier this summer I had a video appt. to discuss my skin issues + acne, which was extremely helpful. (See my post on my current skincare regimen here.) But I still wanted to get in for an in-person visit so I could have a full skin check done.
We talked about two things: skin cancer and skin care.
- Skin Cancer Check
I have no history of skin cancer, BUT, I have a lot of various moles all over my body (ok, that sounded gross to me when I typed that. Most are just small, pretty inoffensive moles. lol. But still, there are quite a few of them.). I also do have a pretty solid history of sun exposure from my teen years.
From grades 9-12, I went on a Caribbean cruise every year for spring break with one of my best friend’s family. Each year, before the trip, we would “prep” by…. going tanning! (in a tanning bed, because it’s freezing in Wisconsin in March.) During the trip, we would lather up Hawaiian Tropics tanning oil or maybe an SPF 4. I naturally have skin that tans up pretty nicely and I am not too burn prone at all, but I still would get probably WAY too tan and of course, I did burn sometimes.
We also had a pool at home, and I would lay out for hours. Plus, we took frequent family Florida beach trips where I also would proceed to get super duper tan (leading to some burning and/or peeling….).
Since then, I have used tanning beds only very sporadically over the years, and not recently at all. I no longer have many opportunities to bake in the sun, and I’m older and wiser and more aware of the risks associated with sun damage at this point. Oh, and I’m also a REGISTERED NURSE now who should know about these things.
Given my history (plus all the moles…), I’m always a little paranoid about skin cancer now though. I try to keep an eye on my moles for any changes. I personally know two parents in their early 40’s from our swim team community who both got melanoma in the past few years!! One had to have a significant reconstructive neck surgery to remove it, because it had spread…. omg.
I actually find the whole topic to be quite depressing, because I love to be tan. 😦 I would totally still bake in the sun if I could. (In my case, though, I now have this melasma issue on my forehead which is exacerbated greatly by sun exposure. So I have to be extra careful now about keeping sunscreen on and my face out of the sun, or dark spots will explode all over my forehead. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise??)
Anyway, getting long winded here, but my skin exam was ALL CLEAR! Woohoo! I do have one (very dark) mole on my stomach I wanted them to take a closer look at, but she said it was okay.
I snapped a picture of this sign:
YIKES. A 75% increased risk of melanoma is huge. Also, the second stat is pretty alarming too- more people develop skin cancer from tanning beds than develop lung cancer from smoking!
At some point I’d like to explore some of those self-tanner lotions. I do spray tans occasionally before vacation, but I’ve heard those self-tanner lotions have come a LONG way these days. Might be a nice option, if I could find a good one.
2. Skin Care
We also reviewed my skin care regimen, which I’m very happy with on the whole re: my acne issues.
I also asked her, “While I have you here, what do you think about all of the million different skin care products out there nowadays?? Acne aside, what do YOU recommend women do if they are primarily looking to combat aging?”
She said, emphatically, “SIMPLIFY.”
She went on to say that while there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with all the creams and serums, etc., most of them really aren’t necessary and are just really expensive. She said her key, must-have ingredients to prevent aging would be:
- a GENTLE cleanser (avoid harsh products)
- daily sunscreen
- Tretinoin (prescription strength Retinoid)
- a gentle moisturizer at night
- a healthy diet low in sugar
- lots and lots of water
- don’t smoke
I was happy to hear this, because this is basically my routine (+ a Clindamycin ointment to prevent acne and Hydroquinone for my melasma.) I had been spending a small fortune on various products before this and am actually getting much better results now with only a few items! YAY.
I am grateful for this black stretchy hairband that I use to hold my hair back every day when I wash my face. I use it both morning and night, and while it’s a simple item, it is extremely useful. So, I need to express gratitude for it. 🙂
P.S. Go check your moles and/or schedule a skin check!! 🙂