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Check skin for signs of damage and cancer

How to Check Your Skin for Signs of Cancer and Skin Damage

1 in 5 Americans are likely to develop skin cancer by age 70. A simple skin check routine can help you have a good outcome. Read on to learn more about how and when you should check your skin for signs of damage or cancer.

The skin may seem like a relatively thin layer, but did you know that this largest organ in your body makes up roughly 16% of your weight? With somewhere around 1.6 trillion skin cells (depending on your size), distributed across three layers, it’s your important first line of defense against the elements—including the damaging effects of the sun. 

And the sun can do real damage. Each year, millions of people in the United States are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer. The most common types are basal and squamous skin cancers; Melanoma, though less common, is considered more dangerous than the others.

Sadly, more than 2 people die from skin cancer in the U.S. every hour. The good news is that skin cancers are also highly treatable—when recognized in the early stages. “When detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99%.” – SkinCancer.org

This is why we always emphasize learning the right way to check your skin for signs of cancer—and encourage you to make it a regular practice!

How Should I Check My Skin for Signs of Damage and Cancer?

Checking your skin for signs of damage or cancer does not require any expertise or medical tests. The best way to do a skin self-exam is by examining your skin in a well-lit room. Use a hand-held mirror to look at those areas that are hard to see, or have your spouse, family member, or friend check you.

The easiest time to carry out a skin checkup is after taking a shower or a bath. If you are checking your skin for the first time, go carefully and slowly; aim to learn the pattern of moles, freckles, blemishes, or any other noticeable marks on your skin. You might even make notes or take photos so you can check for changes over time, particularly if you see any areas that might be of concern. 

The American Cancer Society does not provide guidelines on how often to check your skin. You should, however, do frequent checks if you are exposed to any risk factors associated with skin cancer such as regular increased sun exposure or a history of skin cancer in your family.

How to Check Your Skin Using a Mirror

The steps below will help you examine almost every inch of your skin while using a hand mirror (which will help you get a closer look, especially at harder-to-see spots):

  1. Place the mirror in front of you and check your face, ears, neck, chest, and belly.
  2. Next, check your arms, including the underarm, the part between your fingers, and the tops and palms of your hands.
  3. While sitting down, examine the fronts of your thighs, toes and skin between them, calves, genital area, tops and bottoms of your feet, and toenails.
  4. You might want to hold onto something for balance while you use the mirror to check your buttocks, backs of your thighs, lower and upper back, and the back of your ears and neck.
  5. Lastly, check your scalp by parting the hair using a comb or hair dryer

What Are the Signs of Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer can occur on any part of your body, but areas most-often exposed to the sun are at highest risk. Having a blemish or a mole on your skin does not mean that your skin is damaged or has cancer. These signs, however, suggest a visit to the dermatologist:

  • A wart-like growth
  • Any new or irregular spot on the skin
  • Any mole that is slowly changing in size or color
  • A scaly red patch that may be bleeding
  • Any bleeding sore or any sore that does not heal after several weeks

What Are the Major Ways of Preventing Skin Damage and Cancer?

The major causes of skin cancer and skin damage are too much exposure to ultraviolet rays from either the sun or tanning beds. According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), you can protect yourself by:

  • Staying in the shade
  • Wearing clothes that cover most of your skin
  • Wearing a hat that will shield your face, ears, and neck
  • Use broad-spectrum sunscreen
  • Wearing sunglasses that protect both UVA and UVB rays
  • Avoiding tanning beds, booths, sunbeds, and sunlamps.

Prevention of any disease is always better than cure. Now that you know how to check your skin for signs of damage and cancer, you can give yourself an edge by checking it often. All the different types of skin cancer are easily treated or controlled at their early stages. So, if you notice any signs that resemble skin cancer, don’t wait; seek medical attention.

Happy skin tips for any weather

How to Have Happy Skin in Any Weather

We all want to have happy skin in any weather, and the best way to do that is to work with your body, rather than against it! Our bodies are designed to react to changes in the seasons; it’s probably a fall back to our prehistoric survival skills: “It’s getting cold? I’d better stock up on more food.” 

When the weather fluctuates at the change of seasons, however, our skin often reacts in ways we’re not too crazy about. While we know that we should have healthy habits to help keep our skin looking its best, sometimes Mother Nature simply takes a toll.

For instance, your skin might feel tight or appear drier than usual, maybe your pimples are more inflamed than ever, or if you’re allergy prone your eyes may be puffy. 

According to scientists and dermatologists, these not-so-welcome changes in your skin can be attributed to the transition of seasons.

What sort of skin troubles are common when the weather changes?

Temperature, humidity changes, and fluctuating seasonal allergens can all impact the way your skin looks and behaves on any given day. Spring and Fall are particularly problematic because the weather can be warm and humid one day, cold and dry the next.

What happens to skin in warm, humid conditions?

Spring and summer can do some damage to our skin if we’re not careful. Aside from the sun’s damaging rays (we all know to apply and reapply sunscreen, right?), we are also facing hot temperatures which can add to our skin’s dehydration. Increased heat and humidity will likely cause your skin to sweat too, which can leave you more susceptible to breakouts, especially if your skin is naturally oily. High heat can also lead to unsightly and uncomfortable heat rash.

What happens in cold, dry conditions?

When your skin is exposed to colder, low humidity situations, your skin can become itchy and irritated. This is because cold air will tighten your pores. We often have our central heat turned on in cold weather too, which is pumping dry air into our homes and increasing the chance we will continue to dehydrate our skin.

When it’s hot out, our bodies crave a cool glass of water. But, during colder weather we tend to be less hydrated, and that will also have a negative effect on our skin. So, our skin becomes dry, dehydrated, flaky and often itchy. Harsh weather can make skin crack, peel, and form uncomfortable redness along knuckles, knees and elbows. 

Skin conditions like eczema tend to flare up in cold, dry temperatures too.

What are some ways we can help have happy skin in any season?

  1. Exfoliate to support dewy skin: Warmer weather and humidity have a way of making dirt and oils cling to our skin, so spring is the perfect time to switch up your skin care routine. If winter is the season to moisturize, spring becomes the season for gentle freshening. Try adding an exfoliating scrub or face mask to your skin care routine to rid your face of dead layers. To keep your skin smooth and hydrated, we love the idea of a natural facemask you can use a few times a week.
  • Avoid hot showers: According to dermatologist, Dr. Sheri Marchbien, taking short showers with warm water only, no more than five minutes, will help to keep your skin from drying out. Hot water has a tendency to open pores in a way which allows toxins in and moisture out.  When you first get out of the shower, and your skin is still damp: that’s when you should apply a thick, nutrient-rich moisturizer.
  • New season shopping: Go ahead and treat yourself to a shopping trip when the seasons change. As we approach spring time, new sunglasses to protect your eyes, and a moisturizing SPF or make-up containing SPF would be great investments in yourself.  In cooler weather, you could consider a thick nighttime moisturizer or an in-home humidifier.

While we cannot control the weather, we do have control over how we react to it. To keep your skin happy in any weather, pay attention to the humidity and temperature outdoors, as well as the state of your skin, and don’t be afraid to switch up your skin care routine as the weather changes. What other questions do you have about seasonal skin care?

Understanding healthy skincare ingredients

No matter who you are—young or old, woman or man, with any skin type— the first step toward better skin is getting familiar with the benefits of healthy skincare ingredients. There are so many options online and in stores today, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Part of the promise we make to customers is ensuring that the products we offer will support skin’s natural health. We don’t want to offer cover ups or quick fixes. And with 60-70% of women and 60% of men reporting some degree of sensitive skin, the selection and quality of ingredients becomes that much more critical!

For a start, we’ll review the eleven ingredients—yes, just 11—that we use in our Daily Glow Serum. You’ll learn what makes them special (and why we’ve brought them together into one luscious, nurturing facial serum—yes, we’re a bit partial, but soon you’ll see why!).

Oryza sativa (Rice) bran oil is a skin conditioning agent, or humectant. That means it helps draw moisture from the air to increase the water content on your skin’s surface (similar to how rice can draw moisture out of your phone if it gets wet). The rice bran is the hard, outer layer of the rice grain—generally what’s left over after milling white rice. It’s rich in essential fatty acids, vitamin E, Omega 3s and has antioxidant properties.

Another benefit: it’s a chelating agent—something that helps with ingredient stability (so the oils don’t go rancid).

Camellia japonica (Camellia) seed oil. The oil harvested from the seeds of the flowering Camellia Japonica tree is similar to the oil in our skin—a.k.a. sebum. Its high levels of essential fatty acids—Omega-6 , -9 and Palmitic—can help reduce water loss and support the skin’s natural barriers. Skincare bonus: it can also help reduce the appearance of fine lines.

Limnanthes alba (Meadowfoam) seed oil is excellent for preventing moisture loss. It can also ease dry skin, reduce redness, and even cracked skin, thanks to its soothing properties. This oil is another that’s similar to the skin’s natural oils. And it’s very stable—less affected by heat or exposure to oxygen—helping extend the shelf life of other oils.

Rosa rubiginosa (Rosehip) seed oil (a.k.a. Rosehip Oil), comes from the seeds of a rose bush common in the Andes. It boasts high Vitamin A and C content, and has been linked to greater elasticity, improved texture and skin regeneration. Vitamin C, in particular, can be helpful in stimulating collagen production. It has high levels of fatty acids with soothing properties that can be helpful for burns and stretch marks.

Daucus Carota (Carrot) seed oil, an essential oil extracted from seeds of the flowering “wild carrot” (a.k.a., Queen Anne’s lace), is similar to Rosehip oil: high in vitamins A and C, which can help minimize fine lines, scars and sun damage.

Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose) seed oil, is high in the linoleic and stearic fatty acids, which can help prevent moisture loss, reduce redness, and possibly help soothe extremely dry sensitive skin. It’s also low comedogenic—meaning that despite it being an oil, it’s not prone to clogging pores—which can help minimize the causes of blackheads, whiteheads and acne in general.

Sambucus nigra (Elderberry) fruit extract. Elderberries are rich in flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and can help reduce inflammation. It’s a good source of Vitamin A which, on the skin, may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age spots.

Hippophae rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) berry extract, found in Europe and across the continent of China, is abundant in properties that make it an ingredient in healthy skincare. Top among those: it’s a good source of a balanced array of fatty acids, including two less-common unsaturated fatty acids (palmitooleic acid (omega-7) and gamma-linolenic acid (omega-6)). What does that mean? It’s helpful for skin repair and regeneration, as well as soothing and replenishing flaky and dry skin.

Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) Essential Oil, is one of nature’s great gifts: lavender is soothing to the skin, and non-comedogenic — a plus for those prone to acne or sensitivity. In addition to its topical advantages, it also provides aromatherapy benefits: studies have shown its scent is very soothing, which can help lessen anxiety.

Tocopherol (Vitamin E) is actually one of a family of antioxidants collectively known as Vitamin E. Our natural levels of Vitamin E in the skin get depleted by sun and age. Adding Vitamin E can help our skin stay moist, and keep it healthy so it’s a more effective barrier—and also fights off free radicals, helping protect your skin from damage.

Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) leaf extract can help minimize puffiness and soothe the skin. It’s also an antioxidant. The extract has no oil in it, meaning there is usually little to no fragrance—a real plus for those who might otherwise be sensitive to its strong scent.

If you suffer from sensitive skin, you’re probably thinking that any one of the soothing oils or extracts here will feel delicious—and you’re right! Combining these ingredients into one serum puts their blended strength to work for a real healthy skincare treat.

What questions do you still have? Let us know in the comments and we’ll be happy to answer them!