Skin cancer is a common form of cancer that can spread quickly. Some skin cancer cases are extremely serious, while others are less serious and require shorter treatments. No matter the severity, skin cancer patients should regularly visit a dermatology doctor in Fort Morgan. Once a patient has had skin cancer, they’re at a higher risk for contracting it again. Proper skin care is important for everyone, but especially for skin cancer patients and survivors.
Here are 10 skincare tips for someone who has had skin cancer.
Skin cancer most commonly comes from sun exposure. A strong sunscreen can help reduce the risk of skin cancer. Once you’ve had skin cancer, however, you need to limit the amount of time you spend in the sun. Apply a daily sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, but ask a specialist to see if you need a stronger everyday sunscreen. If you’re spending time outside in the sun, apply a stronger sunscreen with SPF of 50 or higher at least 30 minutes before you go outside. Reapply the sunscreen regularly. Choose a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays, which can both cause cancer. Even the strongest sunscreen can’t protect the skin completely, so be sure to also wear a hat and sunglasses and loose clothing in the sun. Don’t sunbathe, and try to stay in the shade as much as possible.
Check Your Skin
The first signs of skin cancer are often spots or discoloration. After skin cancer, be sure to regularly check your skin for any changes or discoloration. At least once a month, check for any new blemishes or changes to your moles. Have a partner check the areas of your body that are hard to see yourself. If you notice a change in your skin, see your dermatologist right away. Regular skin checks with your dermatologist can also help catch skin issues before they become larger problems.
Use Gentle Cleansers
Skin cancer treatments, especially radiation, can cause rashes and make the skin incredibly sensitive. During and after your skin cancer treatment, use a gentle cleanser with warm water. Keeping the skin clean will remove any bacteria that could cause further skin issues, and the gentle ingredients will help the skin from getting further irritated. Instead of using a washcloth or sponge to wash your face, just use your hands for a gentler experience.
Skin cancer can lead to dry skin, which makes applying a daily moisturizer even more important than it was before. Look for a gentle moisturizer that will hydrate the skin without irritating it. Apply a small amount of moisturizer to the face and neck twice a day. For best results, gently rub in the moisturizer when the skin is still damp, and use special care around the eyes and mouth. Don’t apply moisturizer to any wounds you may have from skin cancer treatment. Some moisturizers even include a daily sunscreen, but you’ll want to check with your doctor to make sure the two-in-one product is strong enough to protect your skin.
Find Other Sources of Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps the body build strong bones, muscles, and teeth. Most people get their required Vitamin D from the sun. However, skin cancer patients need to find other sources of Vitamin D so that they don’t risk their skin in the sun. Take a daily Vitamin D supplement or add foods to your diet that are high in Vitamin D, including oily fish and eggs.
Keep Your Hands Off Your Face
After going through skin cancer, your skin is likely more sensitive and susceptible to rashes and irritation. Every time you touch your face, you transfer the dirt, oil, and germs that are on your hands to your face, which can lead to more serious issues like acne, rashes, and redness. Try to leave your skin alone and to wash your hands regularly throughout the day. Don’t pick your skin or pop pimples because it can lead to scarring.
The best way to protect your skin from the sun is to avoid going out during peak sun hours and to avoid direct sunlight. Avoid being out in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is the strongest. If you have to be outside during those hours, stand in the shade if possible.
It’s also good to cover up and protect your skin as much as possible, especially areas of the skin that were impacted by skin cancer. When you go into the sun, wear long sleeves and long pants made of close weave cotton. Darker colors block more UV rays than lighter colors or fabrics with a looser weave. You can also purchase clothing made of special sun-protective fabric. Wear a wide-brim hat to protect your face, ears, and neck, as well as sunglasses to protect your eyes and the sensitive skin around them from the sun. Lightweight clothing can protect your skin all summer long without leaving you too hot or sweaty.
Avoid Tanning Beds
Tanning beds are never a good idea for your skin, but especially if you’ve had skin cancer. Being in a tanning bed for even just a few minutes can damage your skin as much as being in the direct sunlight for a long time. One tanning bed session can increase your risk of developing melanoma by 20%, and possibly even higher if you’ve already had skin cancer. It only takes a few minutes in a tanning bed to make irreversible damage to your skin. Getting tanned skin just isn’t worth the danger of a tanning bed. If you want to make your skin look tanner, choose a self-tanning product designed for sensitive skin. Many of these products provide a natural look and won’t damage the skin.
Use as Few Skincare Products as Possible
When you design a skincare routine, especially after having skin cancer, you don’t need to go overboard with products. Focus on the quality, not the quantity, of the products. Like previously mentioned, a good moisturizer is key to keeping your skin hydrated and healthy. A gentle cleanser, sunscreen, and moisturizer will cover your bases and keep your skin healthy and glowing without adding too many chemicals or ingredients. Using too many products can irritate your skin, especially if you use multi anti-aging products. Don’t forget to wear a daily SPF lip balm to protect the sensitive skin on your lips.
Regularly See a Dermatologist
Everyone should see a dermatologist at least once a year to check the health and condition of their skin. These visits are crucial if you’ve had skin cancer. In fact, your dermatologist may request more frequent visits, at least until you’ve been in the clear for a while.
These visits are a chance to check on your skin and ask questions of any changes you’ve noticed on your body. Your doctor may even notice changes to your skin that you hadn’t realized and can potentially help fix problems before they turn into larger issues. The dermatologist can also recommend specific products and treatments for your skin as things change over time. You should still keep an eye on your own skin, but a professional annual skin exam helps ensure your skin is in top shape.
Skin cancer can turn your life upside down, but you can still have healthy and glowing skin after the cancer is gone. Taking care of your overall health and your skin with these tips is crucial. With a higher risk and extremely sensitive skin, it takes constant vigilance to keep your skin healthy, but with the right skincare routine and dermatologist, it’s possible.