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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Call the Dermatologist – It’s Time for a Skin Check

BLACK SAND PUNALUU BIG ISLAND HAWAII HAND FOOT PINTSummer officially ended on September 21, although here in LA the temperature is still in the 80s with the UV rating of 8 (UV Index reading of 8 to 10 means very high risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure) so no letting up on sun protection for us in the southern states.
For me  it’s also marked on the calendar as time to make an appointment for my annual skin check.

Before the Exam

Get the most from your doctor’s visit by first performing a full body skin self exam, don’t forget to check areas like your scalp, between your toes, and the soles of your feet.
When you are doing a thorough skin check, of particular concern are any moles that have grown and are larger than the eraser on the end of a pencil or have changed shape or color. You’re particularly looking for any uneven moles that are asymmetric, meaning if you drew a line across the middle of it the two halves don’t match or have jagged edges.
Watch out for dry or scaly spots that don’t respond to a little moisturizing cream and heal up but continue to be dry and scaly.
Be sure to make note of any new, changing, itching, or bleeding moles, growths, or other lesions. Quite often in the early stages of skin cancer you can be the best person to notice small changes.
Also remove all nail polish from your fingernails and toenails as skin cancers can form there.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

‘Ginger Gene’ Discovered!

ginger hair, red head

We are often spotted on holiday cowering underneath paddling-pool sized sun hats having turned ourselves Marcelle Marceau white under layers of suncream.
But we flame haired folks can trace our  heritage back to the first intrepid explorers that traveled  from Africa to northern Europe.
It is now believed that the mutation that caused V60L allele otherwise known as the ‘ginger gene’, occurred around 50,000 years ago.
We gained our distinctive colouring as our skin lightened leaving behind only fragments of UV protective melaninand a freckled epidermis allowing us  to get more vitamin D from infrequent and weaker sunlight.
However, it has also increased our risk of melanomas – the deadliest form of skin cancer.
The mutation remains common across Europe, even in those with no outward signs.
For ‘rufosity’ to occur in an offspring, the gene needs to be carried by both parents as it is a recessive gene.
Researchers made the discovery while examining the evolutionary processes of particular genes of 1,000 people from Spain.
Study author Dr Saioa Lopez said: “As a consequence of depigmentation there has been a collateral damage consequence to health.
‘This can be reconciled if we assume that melanoma is typically a post-reproductive disease, and consequently should have little effect on the individual’s genetic contribution to the next generation.’
The study was published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.
My childhood was regularly punctuated with taunts of “Oy – carrot top, ginger nut, Duracell”, “who wants a ginger biscuit?”, “can I join the dots on your freckles?”and the like. If only I’d had access to this research, how different my awkward teen years might have been, feeling so persecuted for the genetic curse of flame red hair and freckles.
Surely I could have quipped back “Yeah what of it? I’m not only more evolved than you, but I also have developed a superpower, with my sporadic arrangement of melanin, I am able to absorb vitamin D up to 10 times faster than you my swarthy brunette tormentor!”
OK maybe not, I’m also oppressed by gravity and at a gargantuan and 5 foot 1 it’s probably a good thing that instead I stuck with the time tested advice for dealing with bullies and “ignored them,” aided by my Walkman and a large hat!

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bug Eyed At The Beach – Protecting Your Eyes from Sun Damage

TIE DYE BLUE SUN SLEEVEZ GOGGLESBetween May and October we go to the beach most weekends and whilst I thoroughly enjoy my time swimming and boogie boarding in the ocean I frequently find at the end of the day my eyes are sore from the combination of Sun and salt water. I do try to keep sunglasses on whilst in the water, but over the past few summers I have sacrificed more pairs of sunglasses to Neptune than I care to remember. After watching my brand-new current favorites float away it occurred to me that I already owned the perfect solution.
I transferred my swim goggles from my gym bag to my beach bag when we headed out to the beach this weekend and I noticed the difference immediately.
Whilst I undoubtedly looked a little odd, wearing goggles did create a slight distortion when looking around, and they don’t feel as comfortable as regular Sun glasses, it was well worth it to protect my eyes from harsh UV glare, reflected from the sand and water, as well as keeping salt water from stinging my eyes. No red eyes for me when we got home.
My current fave goggles for comfort and really keeping the water out are aqua sphere that I picked up on sale at the end of last summer after first reading about them in Tim Ferris’s 4 hour body book (no product placement, they are just the first ones I have ever liked) I’m planning to get them for the rest of the family now.
Eye Damage in the Short Term Is Possible
Did you know it’s just as important to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays as it is to shield your skin?
It can take years before you experience any of the sun’s damaging effects on your eyes. But, some damage can occur in the short term, if your eyes feel tired, sore and gritty after a day at the beach, you may have experienced UV radiation exposure.
Direct sunlight from the sun itself is extremely damaging to eyes, however reflected UV rays can be even more dangerous. Hats, eyelids and even our brows are designed to offer some over head protection but reflected UV is increased by as much as 15 percent from sand and 25 percent from sea foam!
Additionally the risk is increased because we are just more likely to look down than up!
What can you do? Wear sun glasses glasses/goggles that say they block at least 99 percent of the UV rays.
Look for lenses large enough to completely cover the eye and prevent as much light as possible from entering through the edges of the glasses, Wrap-around sunglasses offer the best protection.
I might have looked a little unusual with my goggles at the beach  but judging from the number of people who came up to me to say what a good idea it was, I think we may be seeing a few more bug eyed boogie boarders in Santa Monica!

Friday, September 13, 2013


Just because the kids have gone back to school it doesn’t mean you can stop the sun protection.
Some of the highest temperatures are recorded in September  when UV levels are still extremely high.
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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sunny Sleevez – It’s Still Summer SALE!

Just because the kids have gone back to school it doesn’t mean you can stop the sun protection.
Some of the highest temperatures are recorded in September  when UV levels are still extremely high.
Want to SAVE $ and SAVE your SKIN?
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In just Five minutes on a sunny summer day your skin may absorb enough UV radiation to develop a minor sunburn. It takes even less time for skin cells to suffer injury that you can’t see nor feel.
Protect yourself, and those you love with STYLE!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

When Skin + Bright Red is a Good Thing!

TOMATO SUN SCREEN SUN PROTECTION LYCOPENEIt used to be that when I thought of tomatoes and skin I generally thought of the unattractive pink hue that my skin turns after a small amount of sun exposure.
However a German study found that women who ate 40 grams (about 1/3 cup) of tomato paste daily for at least 10 weeks were more protected from the sun than those who didn’t. They reduced their risk of UV-induced erythema (redness) by 40% compared to the women who did not consume any tomato products.
The secret to this juicy little fruit’s protection power comes from the lycopene that gives the tomato its rich red color. Lycopene, the best free radical “scavenger” in the carotene family.
Unfortunately when it comes to unprocessed tomatoes very little lycopene is bioavailable so if you’re looking for UV-protecting effects, choose things like sun-dried tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, or tomato juice.
In a repeat of the German study reported in the Journal of British Dermatology in 2010 which found similar results, the study authors concluded that the lycopene-rich tomato paste provides protection against acute and potentially longer-term aspects of UV-induced photo damage.
Obviously eating tomatoes is not a substitute for seeking shade in the middle of the day wearing a hat, UV clothing, sunglasses and frequent and thorough application of sunscreen, but it’s tasty addition to your sun protection arsenal.
So you can tuck into burgers with extra ketchup, spaghetti bolognese and a round of bloody marys guilt free!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sun Tan Myths Exposed – #2 Sun Beds Are Safer Than Sunbathing

sun bed sun tan tanning salon
Fact:Sun lamps used in tanning beds emit doses of  UVA as much as 12 times that of the sun! 
Tanning booths primarily emit UVA, according to the skin cancer foundation UVA, penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB, has long been known to play a major part in skin aging and wrinkling.  If that’s not reason not to stay away from the tanning salon: the American Academy of dermatology reports  people who use tanning salons are 2.5 times more likely to develop various forms of skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma, & basal cell carcinoma), and the risk increases with  frequent use.
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Young people  are particularly vulnerable. According to recent research,the biggest jump in skin cancer reports seen among adolescents ages 15 to 19, especially girls that the number of diagnosed cases is rising. First exposure to tanning beds in youth increases melanoma risk by 75 percent.
Recently, the FDA proposed stricter regulations on tanning devices.