Skin Health: Disease
The summer months are just around the corner and skin health must be talked about. I recently read a study that stated skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States; and to further add to that statistic, woman under the age of 39 have a greater increase in melanoma.
There are many obvious things we all know to do: avoid the sun during peak hours, always where sunscreen, cover up and wear a hat that has a brim large enough to cover your face. All simple yet can be difficult. Below I will go through some other facts including risk factors, diet, and other preventative things you can do ( and consider ) for your self and your family.
The Risk Factors
1. Playing outdoors
- Play smart outdoors by seeking shade, wearing a hat and sunscreen. Do your best to spend most of your time outside during the early morning and late afternoon.
2. Living in the mountains
- Not much you can do about this! You might have some fresh air but with every 1000 feet in elevation increases your UV exposure. Make double sure to be safe and covered.
3. Suppressed immune system
- Eat well ( no processed foods), manage your stress, and laugh a lot!
4. Strange looking moles
What to do: Regularly check your skin and look for moles and freckles that look different. The Skin Cancer site gives you an idea by looking at images of healthy and non healthy moles. In general though, here are some thoughts:
- Asymmetry: The 2 sides of the mole just do not match.
- Irregular border: The border is uneven, or scalloped.
- A variety of color: You have a colorful mole or a variety of different shades of color within the mole.
- Sizing up: Diameter is larger than a quarter inch.
If you notice any of these, then consult your dermatologist immediately. Remember to ask your doctor about creating a, “Body Skin Map.” for your body. This is a very smart way to keep track of your skin changes – very simple and preventative – however, many doctors do no always do it or may do it but it is not extensive enough.
What about food?… And what is angiogenesis?
“Let food be our medicine, and medicine be our food”
This is one of my all time favorite quotes from Hippocrates. As many say… we are what we eat. I personally feel we are – who doesn’t feel great after a healthy colorful meal? And not so wonderful after a fast food colorless meal? And we all want to feel great.
I thought I would throw out one my all time favorite medical words ( peristalsis and uvula are my other top ones!) – angiogenesis. Angiogenesis, is the formation of new blood vessels which is vital process for growth and development in the body. However, these new blood vessels are also a perfect venue for tumor growth. This is where cancer cells may step in if they have the chance. One does have to remember that the body does not want to be sick and will do its very best to avoid that and with a little support from us – through lifestyle – we can really help our bodies prevent any type of illness. First place to start is food… the antioxidants in foods to be exact.
Sorry to say, but there is no magic food or nutrient. The nutrients in food work together as a team and why eating a variety of colorful fruits and veggies will give you a powerful boost in your body. I have written about free radicals and my favourite antioxidants but here are a few more…
( remember that free radicals – by products of oxygen – will cause damage to your DNA ( in this case the UV light will penetrate the skin, possibly causing free radicals to damage the DNA. If the free radicals do maybe the DNA, cancer may occur, however, antioxidants have the ability to neutralize these free radicals))
1) Vitamin A
why I adore it: Vitamin A not only is a free radical but it helps out the immune system by regulating it and aiding in the development of white blood cells.
what foods to find it in: orange foods, whole eggs
2) Vitamin E
why I adore it: A fat soluble vitamin that will stop the further formation of free radicals.
what foods to find it in: Almonds, sunflower seeds
why I adore it: It is bright red and therefore, foods that are red, tend to have lycopene in them. Lycopene is very helpful in protecting the skin from UV light.
what foods to find it in: Read here and any reddish colored foods.
why I adore it: Selenium,will do a little magic trick by partnering up with proteins and creating selenoproteins. These selenoproteins help prevent any cellular damage from free radicals.
what foods to find it in: Brazil nuts – however they have a high content so only eat a few!
Look like the next post will have to be on Skin and Aging – I would hate to overwhelm you too much.