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Skin Cancer SOS

Skin Cancer SOS

Dr. Amy Wechsler Sounds off on How to Protect your Skin

Each year, countless Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer – in fact one in five of us will develop the disease in our lifetime. However, the survival rate for patients whose melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is detected early, before the tumor has penetrated the skin, is about 99 percent.  Sharing her top tips on protection and what to watch for is renowned NYC dermatologist, Dr. Amy Wechsler.

  • First thing’s first, always seek shade. Hopping under an umbrella, sitting beneath an awning and covering up can reduce your UV exposure by 50 to 95 percent. This is particularly critical from 10:00 am – 4:00pm when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
  • If you must go out, apply sunscreen. The best rule of thumb here is that you need at least two shot glasses full of sunscreen for your body and one teaspoon for your face. Look for sunscreens that are broad-spectrum and contain at least SPF 30 (you may want more for your face). Don’t forget to apply to your hands, feet and top it all off with a lip balm containing SPF to protect your pout.
  • See your doctor. We’re all so diligent about our annual physicals, but most people do not include a visit to their dermatologist as they make the rounds. It is critical to get a full body skin check at least once a year to avoid any possible issues. This should also be supplemented with home skin checks.
  • And when checking yourself, know the skin ABCs

Asymmetry – half of the spot doesn’t match or look like the other half

Borders that are irregular – ragged, notched, or blurred around the edges

Color changes – say, from tan to black or red to blueish

Diameter – anything larger than a pencil eraser (6 millimeters) should be scrutinized, in addition to anything that’s started growing.

Protect yourself. Get treatment early. And when in doubt, get checked out.

 

Amy Wechsler, MD

A dermatologist practicing in New York City, Dr. Amy Wechsler is board certified in both dermatology and psychiatry. She is the author of the Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Reverse Stress Aging and Reveal More Youthful, Beautiful Skin. With a philosophy that draws on her unique and diverse experiences, Dr. Wechsler is recognized for being as approachable and progressive as she is professional.