Juliet Plastic

1 in 5 people will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. Skin cancer is most common cancer in the United States with over 3.5 million skin cancers affecting 2 million people a year. Skin cancer has been on the rise in the past three decades. With more than half of American adults reporting a sunburn within the past year, we are literally cooking and even killing ourselves.

What happens when you get sunburned?

A sunburn is literally what it sounds like-the sun is burning your skin. The sun has three types of rays, UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC is absorbed by the ozone layer and does not reach Earth or us. UVA or Ultra Violet Rays are long waves and go deep into our skin, while UVB rays are short waves, but still go into our skin and cause damage. When skin is over exposed to the sun the body revolts with side effects, one of which is a sunburn.  Skin gets red, sore, itchy and in some severe cases blisters and then peels. Severe sunburns can also cause nausea, headaches, dehydration, fever and fatigue. If you experience a high fever due to a sun burn seek medical attention immediately.

Are you at risk?

Everyone is at risk for a sunburn! Main risk factors that will determine if you burn or tan, are skin type, how long you are exposed to the sun and the proximity of the sun. For example a blonde, fair skinned, light eyed person will burn faster than an olive toned complexion. The closer you are to the sun, the higher your risk of burning(think high altitudes and climates close to the equator). UV rays are stronger during the warmer months May-August, but sunburns and UV damage can still happen during cold months.

Tips to protect yourself:

Stay out of the sun from 10am-3pm(when it is most intense)

-Wear a hat with a broad rim preferably made out of UV protective material

-Wear UVA/UVB blocking clothing

-Wear UV blocking sunglasses

-Always wear a broad spectrum SPF30 or higher

-Reapply sunscreen every 30-60 minutes if in direct sun

-Reapply SPF after swimming

-Wear gloves to protect the tops of hands

How to treat a sunburn?

If you happen to get burned there are a few things to ease the pain. Take a cool shower or bath and then apply a serum or moisturizer that contains soothing ingredients like oatmeal, honey, milk, or organic red tea. Organic red tea helps to minimize redness, irritation and inflammation. Oatmeal is anti-inflammatory and can be added to a bath. Honey minimizes pain and helps to speed up healing. A cool milk compress coats the skin with a protein barrier which helps with pain and reduces heat. Taking ibuprofen can help as well. Do not go in the sun if you already have a sunburn-this will make it worse. If symptoms worsen or a fever develops seek medical attention.

The sun feels good and we need Vitamin D it provides, but it doesn’t have to burn us. Education and protection are the best defense!

 

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It’s virtually impossible to dodge every single chemical throughout a lifetime, but we can make minor changes to limit the amount of toxins and chemicals that we put on our body by selecting products that are free of some of the most harmful chemicals that exist in beauty products.

If you’re thinking that skincare and cosmetic products that are applied to the skin do not get into your body in large amounts, think again! According to the EWG, “People are exposed to cosmetics ingredients in many ways: breathing in sprays and powders, swallowing chemicals on the lips or hands or absorbing them through the skin. Biomonitoring studies have found that cosmetics ingredients – such as phthalate plasticizers, paraben preservatives, the pesticide triclosan, synthetic musks and sunscreen ingredients – are common pollutants in the bodies of men, women and children.” the EWG writes on the Myths on Cosmetics safety page its skin-deep website.

When choosing products, we’re breaking down our top 5 ingredients that you want to be sure and avoid:

Phthalates

Phthalates (pronounced THA-lates) are plasticizing chemicals that are probable human reproductive or developmental toxins and endocrine disruptors. Phthalates cause reproductive birth defects in laboratory animals, particularly in males.

Phthalates are used in a large variety of products, from the coatings of pharmaceutical pills and nutritional supplements to viscosity control

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agents, gelling agents, film formers, stabilizers, dispersants, lubricants, binders, emulsifying agents, and suspending agents.

Parabens

Parabens, defined as by Wikipedia “Parabens is a term used within the vernacular of the specialty chemicals industry to describe a series of parahydroxybenzoates or esters of parahydroxybenzoic acid. Parabens are widely used as preservatives by cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.”

In the 1990s, parabens were deemed xenoestrogens―agents that mimic estrogen in the body. “Estrogen disruption” has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues.

Even though both parabens and pthalates are both considered safe by the FDA, we believe that there is enough concern about the harmful side effects (based on studies’ results) of these chemicals to stay away from all products which use them, especially pregnant women, babies and pubescent young adults. There are so many natural alternatives to these ingredients that there is just no reason to continue use of them within the marketplace.

Oxybenzone

Oxybenzone belongs to the class of aromatic ketones known as benzophenones. It provides broad-spectrum UV coverage, including UVB and short-wave UVA (ultraviolet) rays (found in sunscreens, lip gloss and moisturizers). Just like the findings of the Phalates, Oxybenzone has been shown to be a probable human reproductive or developmental toxins and endocrine disruptors.

Fragrance

According to The Breast Cancer Fund, synthetic fragrances used in cosmetics can have as many as 100 ingredients –including hormone-disrupting phthalates, synthetic musks, and ethylene oxide. ”Fragrance” is usually a chemical cocktail, often containing individual chemicals associated with allergic reactions and hormone disruption. Some fragrance chemicals have not been assessed for safety. Until all fragrance ingredients are disclosed on the label, consumers cannot know what is in a particular fragrance. Credit: Livestrong.com

PEG’s (Poly Ethylene Glycol)

PEGs (polyethylene glycols) are petroleum-based compounds that are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. PEGs are commonly used as cosmetic cream bases. They are also used in pharmaceuticals as laxatives. Dangerous levels of dioxin have been found as a by-product of the ethoxylstion process which has been linked to be a possible human carcinogen (aka cause cancer).

The definition of skin cancer from skincancer.org is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.

Types of Skin Cancer

There are many types of skin cancer but the three we hear the most about are Basal cell carcinoma (BCC), Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and Melanoma. To the naked eye these can all look similar which is why it is imperative to see your Dermatologist once a year for a full body scan. If you notice something different or new on your body go see your doctor. All of these skin cancers can be cured or treated if detected early. SCC (in rare cases) and Melanoma more frequently can cause death if they grow and spread. Learn the symptoms and get checked. Most likely anything you find is in very early stages and is easily treatable. Knowledge is your greatest weapon.

1. Basal Cell Carcinoma

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  • Found in outer most layers of the skin
  • Can be disfiguring if allowed to grow
  • Very rarely metastasizes (spreads)
  •  Most common form of cancer

Symptoms/Warning Signs

  • Open sore that bleeds
  • Red patch (can be mistaken for rosacea)
  • Shiny bump
  • Pink growth-can be elevated with a depression in the middle
  • Scar like looking area that can be void of color and looks stretched and shiny

2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma

SCC 1

 

 

 

 

  • Found in upper layers of skin
  • Can cause disfigurement if allowed to grow
  • Can cause death if allowed to grow (although very rare)
  • Grow deeper into the skin than BCC
  • Usually found on face, ears, lips, neck and tops of the hands

Symptoms/Warning Signs

  • Thick and rough sore
  • Scaly red sore
  • Red patch/crusty/bleeds
  • Sore with irregular boarders and crust
  • Can be brown/darker than BCC
  • Can look like a wart
  • Can be elevated with depression in middle

3. Melanoma

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  • Caused by mutation of cells found in the pigment of moles and freckles.
  • DNA is mutated due to UV exposure or predisposition
  • Can cause death
  • Can return once treated
  • Can develop without having had over UV exposure or sunburn
  • Can spread fast

Symptoms/Warning Signs

  • Asymmetry
  • Changes in size or color(pigment) of an existing mole
  • Uneven boarders of a mole
  • Can be black in color or brown
  • Can be pink in color or multi-colored
  • Diameter can be large but not necessary
  • Cancer can show up in places we may not always think to check. Seeing your Dermatologist once a year can put your mind at ease and possibly save your life.

A few areas skin cancer can show up are the following:

  • Moles – look for change is size, color or shape
  • Nail beds
  • Scalp
  • Soles of feet
  • Palms of the hands