Your skin is the body’s largest and most visible organ. The tough outer layers contain keratin and collagen for strength and elastin for elasticity, allowing them to carry out many important functions. One of skin’s most essential roles is to act as a barrier for the body against trauma that would otherwise severely damage internal organs and structures. It also helps to fight off diseases and infections, defends the body against dangerous UV radiation, and regulates body temperature. Beyond that, the skin can tell you a lot about your internal health. Given skin’s immense importance, South Jersey Skin Care & Laser Center, a NJ-based dermatology practice, recommends that patients be aware of and watch out for early signs of skin damage—including serious conditions, such as skin cancer.
Many of the complaints men and women have about their skin are related to cosmetic concerns, such as wrinkles and discoloration. Of course, since the skin is so very noticeable, it’s only natural to want to look your best. For some people, this may mean incorporating cosmetic treatments into a regular skincare routine.
Aging gracefully starts with looking after your skin, and it’s best to start early. It’s easier to control or minimize skin damage as it occurs when you’re younger than to repair more severe signs of damage later in life. But taking care of your skin is about more than simply improving your appearance; it’s about keeping skin healthy and reducing the risk of developing health problems. In this way, cosmetic and medical skin concerns are frequently linked, since irregularities of the skin can be external manifestations of systematic diseases.
The next time you want to know what’s going on with your health? Take a look in the mirror. Yellowish skin, for example, may indicate liver problems. Blue or purple discolorations and texture changes may be a sign of heart disease. Excessively chapped lips, dullness, and “shadows” on the face suggest dehydration.
Skin cancer is linked to uncontrollable development of unusual, mutated cells in the topmost layer of skin as a result of DNA damage. Malignant tumors form in the skin cells. A significant contributor to the development of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from natural or artificial sources. Skin cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer among North Americans, and in its most aggressive form, it can lead to disfigurement or even death. Nevertheless, it is also highly preventable and curable when managed in its earlier stages, before it spreads deeper or to other parts of the body.
Having light blond or red hair, fair skin, and light-colored eyes makes you more susceptible to skin cancer. One of the risk factors for non-melanoma skin cancers is age. While the disease can occur in people of all ages, it tends to affect older adults more frequently. This is because in addition to the long-term buildup of UV light damage, skin cell turnover slows over time, and your body is more vulnerable to damage.
Dermatologists recommend routine, full body self-examinations (be sure to check areas that aren’t commonly exposed to sunlight as well), and a yearly skin cancer screenings with a professional, especially if you are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer. If you’re unsure about a mark on your skin, have it checked out by your doctor.
The ABCDE rule can help you detect potential signs of melanoma more easily.
- A is for Asymmetry: Moles should have a uniform shape.
- B is for Border: Be wary of undefined, blurry borders.
- C is for Color: Check for unusual colors like red, white, blue, or multiple colors.
- D is for Diameter: Moles are usually very small; anything larger than a pencil eraser may be a cause for concern.
- E is for Evolving: If you notice new or strange symptoms, you may want to have it checked out.
The Ugly Duckling sign is also a useful way of identifying cancer. If a spot in question looks different from other spots you have, this raises a red flag.
The South Jersey Skin Care & Laser Center team can answer more questions about skin health and beauty. To explore more of their clinical and cosmetic dermatology services, call 856-810-9888 or submit a contact form.