PHOENIX - Arizona has the second highest number of skin cancer cases in the world, right behind Australia. So be sure to get your annual skin exam with a dermatologist. I see Dr. John Kwon in Phoenix and I like how thorough he is with my check-up. I always leave with peace of mind.
I recommend making your appointment in your birthday month, so that it is easy to remember. And if you have a family history of skin cancer, see the dermatologist twice a year. To take the fear out of the unknown, I can tell you that the exam was much easier than I expected it to be.
So, read on to know what to expect at your exam. Plus I'll show you some fun SPF beauty products that I put to the test. And when you are done reading this, pick up the phone and make your appointment with a dermatologist.
What to Expect At Your Dermatologist Appointment
Body areas that surprised me that the dermatologist checked included the skin behind my ears, in between my fingers and my toes and my lips. All are susceptible to skin cancer.
Another area that many people never consider is the eyes. So, if you have perfect vision and don't think you need to see an eye doctor, think again and schedule that exam. I am proof why this is essential. My own eye doc found a suspicious mole behind my eye ball. It can't be seen with the naked eye, but it has to be watched twice a year by the doctor's eye to make sure that it doesn't turn cancerous.
Know Your ABCs
When it comes to watching your moles and your kids' spots, do you know your ABCs as well as you should? Follow this alphabet guide to keep an educated eye on your skin:
Asymmetry – half of the mole doesn’t match the other half…halves are different.
Borders – ragged, notched, or blurred edges.
Color – different shades of tan, brown or black in one spot.
Diameter – a mole that looks larger than a pencil eraser.
Evolution – change or growth of a mole.
If your skin displays any of the above descriptions, don't delay and get checked!
Sun Sense Quiz
Let's see if you are sun savvy. I have a couple of questions to see how you do. Take the quiz below and see how sun safe you really are.
1. When should you avoid the sun?
Answer: My mother always told me to stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. which seemed like the entire day to me as a kid. But really, if you take your kids out for a swim from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the summer, that is plenty of time and there is still plenty of sunlight. The sun's most dangerous rays are between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
2. Can you get a sunburn in cloudy weather?
Answer: Yep, those rays will still get you and in some ways may be more dangerous because you don't feel like it is sunny, skip the sunscreen and then you get burned, literally.
3 . Name three areas that most people forget about when it comes to sunscreen application?
Answer: Top of feet, top of hands and behind neck...don't forget!!
Ok, now that we have discussed the facts and figures about skin cancer prevention and detection, let's have some fun and go sun shopping.
Head to Toe Sun Stuff
This was the fun part. Shopping to see what I could find that was unique and sun safe. From head to toe, here is some sun-sound stuff that I found and that I like.
Head Protection: Hats for all! Because you can get skin cancer on your scalp, skip the visor and ball caps with mesh that don’t provide adequate coverage. I found some stylish sun hats at a great site called www.dermadoctor.com. All the hats are physician-approved and start at $22 and go up in price from there.
Hair Help: Your mane can take a beating from the sun’s rays, too. Smart Girls Who Surf has a product called Care For Hair Sun Protector SPF 7+ that helps to protect your scalp and hair. Formulated with wheat proteins, soy proteins and vitamins C and B that strengthen and hydrate your hair. Sells for $12.99 at Whole Foods.
For the Face: Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, Cetaphil has a daily facial moisturizer with an SPF of 50. Since it is fragrance-free and non-greasy, it works for all skin types. Micronized Titanium Dioxide leaves no filmy white residue and the Cetaphil line is the #1 recommended brand by dermatologists. Sells for $13.99 at Walgreens.
For a quick on-the-beach sunscreen application for the face, reach for Smart Girls Who Surf SPF 30 Face Stick. This organic, SPF 30+ zinc oxide and titanium dioxide formula provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection without using chemical sunscreen actives like octinoxate and oxybenzone. This product is environmentally friendly, water resistant, and made without parabens. Sells for $12.99 at Whole Foods.
Dry skin help is here with philosophy’s hope in a jar extra-rich moisturizer. With an SPF of 20, your face gets protection and moisturized with a formula that is infused with antioxidants. Sells for $38 at Nordstrom, Ulta and philosophy locations.
If you are looking for protection with a bit of sheer color, philosophy offers a tinted moisturizer called hope in a tinted moisturizer. A multi-tasker, this product has a SPF of 20 and provides a sheer foundation along with a moisturizer. Eight shades are offered at $38 a bottle. I like the pump that dispenses the perfect amount every time.
If you are looking for a facial sun block that is fragrance-free and chemical-free, consider Josie Maran’s Argan Protection SPF 40+. The Josie Maran line points out that many standard sun blocks contain hazardous chemicals, but their line employs a natural titanium dioxide with zinc oxide to fend off the dangers and aging side effects of sun exposure. Argan oil is used to fight sun damage and the brand says that their extra-mild, fast-absorbing formula is safe for mom and kids, even babies and toddlers. This can also be applied under makeup and is fragrance-free. Sells for $32 at Sephora.
If you want to find more sunscreens like the Josie Maran line that is chemical-free, check out an informative website called www.ewg.org/skindeep. Once in the site, you can enter your favorite sunscreen or beauty product and the site will give you rating on how many chemicals are in the ingredients.
Sun Protected Smile: Lips are also susceptible to skin cancer, so protect the kissers in your family with a fun brand called Smart Girls Who Surf Lip Balm. It is SPF 15 and all natural with cool ingredients like organic palm oil, beeswax, extra virgin olive oil, organic hemp oil, rosemary extract and Vitamin E. Plus it has a sweet cherry scent that I love. Sold for $3.99 at Whole Foods locations and Healthy Habit on 7th Street and Bethany Home Rd.
Another natural sun protection lip balm I like is called Lavanilla SPF 30 The Healthy Lip Screen. Pure shea butter is infused with zinc oxide for protection and soothing vanilla and cool peppermint are combined for a lip balm that is lovely on lips, too. Sells for $16 at Sephora and Nordstrom.
I even found a protective lip balm that also plumps and tints your lips. Plus it is paraben-free and I like that. Fusion Beauty LipFusion Balm with SPF 15 is sold at Sephora for $22. Several shades are available that include one called “Bitten” that gives lips a sheer strawberry finish and “Butterscotch” for a sheer mauve.
Body Stuff: My top pick for sunscreen goes to the Smart Girls Who Surf line. The SPF 30+ Mineral Sunscreen has no chemicals, no parabens and is made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide instead. Other cool ingredients also include green tea extract, pro-Vitamin B5, C and vitamin E. Plus this line has won the coveted 2010 Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal, which this manic managed mom agrees with!
And for us busy moms on the run, the Smart Girls Who Surf line sells the Grab-N-Go Kit that makes it easier to protect our family from head-to-toe on the run. For $24, you get:
*2 oz. Natural SPF 30+sunscreen
*2oz. After Sun Soothing Lotion for dry skin
*2oz. Care for Hair SPF 7 Sun Protector Leave-in Conditioner hair product
*Two natural glycerin Soap for Surfers
*One all natural SPF 15 sunscreen lip balm (Vanilla or Cherry)
*One black comb
This is also ideal for traveling. Order yours at www.smartgirlswhosurf.com.
Happy fun in the sun days. Remember to protect your skin out there and check out more beauty articles at my website www.managedmoms.com.