A Message From Dr. Young

Dear Patients and Friends,

I hope you are enjoying the gorgeous weather!

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Our focus this month is on skin cancer prevention and the best use of sunscreens.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. Current estimates show that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Approximately 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. Research estimates that nonmelanoma skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, affects more than 3 million Americans a year, and more than 1 million Americans are living with melanoma. More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour. The vast majority of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma - nearly 20 Americans die from melanoma every day.

Because unprotected UV exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer, the American Academy of Dermatology encourages everyone to stay out of indoor tanning beds and protect their skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Skin cancer is highly treatable when detected early. When detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99 percent. So if you notice any new spots on your skin which are different from others, or spots which are changing, itching or bleeding, please contact a board-certified dermatologist.

Please Practice Safe Sun as you head outdoors for warmer weather and fresh air, and bask in the glory of the beautiful Pacific Northwest! Wishing you good health, new discoveries in nature and many happy memories with your loved ones!

Alison Young, MD PhD

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How To Reduce Your Skin Cancer Risk?

  • Seek shade when appropriate. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
  • Wear sun-protective clothing, such as a lightweight and long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection, when possible. For more effective sun protection, select clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) label.
  • Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Broad-spectrum sunscreen provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
    • Use sunscreen whenever you are going to be outside, even on cloudy days.
    • Apply enough sunscreen to cover all skin not covered by clothing. Most adults need about 1 ounce — or enough to fill a shot glass — to fully cover their body.
    • Don’t forget to apply to the tops of your feet, your neck, your ears and the top of your head.
  • When outdoors, reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand, as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
  • Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from tanning beds can cause skin cancer and premature skin aging.
  • Consider using a self-tanning product if you want to look tan, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
  • Perform regular skin self-exams to detect skin cancer early, when it is most treatable, and see a board-certified dermatologist if you notice new or suspicious spots on your skin, or anything changing, itching or bleeding.

A tan is a sign that your skin has been injured
Whether you are exposed to the sun’s UV rays or visit an indoor tanning salon, every time you tan, your skin is damaged. As this damage accumulates, you speed up the aging of your skin, leading to brown and red spots, wrinkles and crepey skin, and increase your risk for all types of skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

How often should I get a skin cancer screening?
I recommend a full skin examination yearly for skin cancer screening, for every patient. If you have a new diagnosis or previous history of melanoma, dysplastic nevi (atypical moles) or if you have higher risk factors for skin cancer (including a history of organ transplant on chronic immunosuppressive therapy or history of long-term use of immunosuppressive medications for treatment of autoimmune conditions, history of multiple sun burns or active tanning), you may be seen more frequently for routine skin cancer screening (e.g. every 3 or 6 months).

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How To Select A Sunscreen

Some sunscreens can prevent sunburn, reduce your risk of getting skin cancer, and help prevent early signs of skin aging.
When selecting a sunscreen, make sure the label says:

  • Broad spectrum: The words "broad spectrum” means that the sunscreen can protect your skin from both types of harmful UV rays — the UVA rays and the UVB rays.
  • SPF 30 or higher: The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you select a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher.
  • Water resistant: Dermatologists also recommend that you look for the words "water resistant.” This tells you that the sunscreen will stay on wet or sweaty skin for a while before you need to reapply. Water resistance lasts either 40 or 80 minutes. Not all sunscreens offer water resistance.

Hawaii’s new sunscreen law to protect coral reefs begins in 2021
If you are traveling to Hawaii, please note that the sale of over-the-counter sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate is banned, in order to protect Hawaii’s marine environment. The most common alternatives include mineral-based sunscreens containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which have been recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as generally safe and effective.

Dr. Young is excited to partner with Fullscript to give her patients access to high quality supplementations from the safety of their own homes.  Look out for the Cyber Monday sale coming soon.  

Fullscript is a smart, easy way to access supplements and meet wellness goals – from anywhere.  You can pick your favourite supplements from your preferred device, and supplements get shipped right to your front door. Plus, getting started is completely free! It’s that simple.
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Dr. Young's Tip of the Month

How To Apply A Sunscreen

Sunscreen is not as effective unless it is applied correctly. Follow these tips from dermatologists when applying sunscreen:
  1. Apply sunscreen before going outdoors. It takes approximately 15 minutes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and protect you. If you wait until you are in the sun to apply sunscreen, your skin is unprotected and can burn.
  2. Use enough sunscreen. Most adults need about 1 ounce — or enough to fill a shot glass — to fully cover their body. Rub the sunscreen thoroughly into your skin.
  3. Apply sunscreen to all bare skin. Remember your neck, face, ears, tops of your feet and legs. For hard‐to‐reach areas like your back, ask someone to help you or use a spray-on sunscreen. If you have thinning hair, either apply sunscreen to your scalp or wear a wide‐brimmed hat. To protect your lips, apply a lip balm with a SPF of at least 15.
  4. To remain protected when outdoors, reapply sunscreen every two hours, or immediately after swimming or sweating. People who get sunburned usually didn’t use enough sunscreen, didn’t reapply it after being in the sun, or used an expired product. Your skin is exposed to the sun's harmful UV rays every time you go outside, even on cloudy days and in the winter. So whether you are on vacation or taking a brisk fall/winter walk in your neighborhood, remember to use sunscreen.
How To Apply Sunless Self-Tanner
These basic tips will help you apply a self-tanner so you get even coverage and longer-lasting results:
  1. Exfoliate. Use a washcloth to exfoliate the skin prior to applying a self-tanner. Using an exfoliating product also will help remove dead skin cells. Spend a little more time exfoliating where your skin is thickest, on the elbows, knees and ankles.
  2. Dry your skin. Drying your skin before you apply a self-tanner helps it go on evenly.
  3. Apply in sections. Apply the self-tanner in sections (such as the arms, then legs, followed by the torso). Massage the self-tanner into your skin in a circular motion.
  4. Wash your hands after each section. You will avoid orange-colored palms by washing your hands with soap and water after you finish applying the self-tanner to each section of your body.
  5. Blend at your wrists and ankles. For a natural look, you need to lightly extend the tanner from your wrists to your hands and from your ankles to your feet.
  6. Dilute over your joints. Dilute the self-tanner on the knees, ankles and elbows, because these areas tend to absorb more self-tanner than the rest of the skin. To dilute, lightly rub with a damp towel or apply a thin layer of lotion on top of the self-tanner.
  7. Give your skin time to dry. Wait at least 10 minutes before getting dressed. For the next three hours, it is best to wear loose clothing and try to avoid sweating.
  8. Apply sunscreen every day. You still need to protect your skin with sunscreen.
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