When ultraviolet (UV) radiation, from the sun, repeatedly lands on unprotected skin, skin cancer can emerge. Here’s the three warning signs you may have the deadly condition.
The Skin Cancer Foundation highlights the second most common type of skin cancer: squamous cells carcinoma (SCC).
Squamous cells are found in the top layer of the skin (epidermis) that shed continuously as new ones form.
SCC (a type of skin cancer) develops when UV light triggers abnormal changes in the squamous cells.
Body parts typically more exposed to UV radiation include the face, lips, ears, scalp, shoulders, neck, the back of the hands and forearms.
But SCC can appear anywhere on the body that is repeatedly exposed to UV radiation.
There are three potential warning signs of sun damage that can appear around a skin cancer lesion.
These are: wrinkled skin; pigment changes; and loss of elasticity. The skin cancer lesions themselves have their own distinctive markings.
For instance, skin cancer lesions can appear as thick, rough, scaly patches that may bleed or crust.
Sometimes, they can resemble warts, or open sores that don’t completely heal, or it can have raised edges that dip in the centre.
Prevention is always better than cure, so the best form of protection is to make daily sun protection part of your skincare routine – regardless if the sun is shining or not.
UV radiation can still penetrate through the clouds, confirms the Skin Cancer Foundation.
All you need to know about UV radiation
UV radiation is part of the natural energy released from the sun. Its wavelength is shorter than light, making it invisible to the naked eye.
However, people can feel UV radiation on their skin – and it’s what makes people tan.
There’s UVA and UVB, which are equally as harmful to the skin. UVA is associated with skin ageing, whereas UVB is associated with skin burning.
Bear in mind that “damage from UV exposure is cumulative”, meaning the risk of skin cancer increases over time.
Did you know that a sunburn is the leading cause of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)?
The Skin Cancer Foundation explained that sunburn “is an inflammatory reaction to UV radiation damage to the skin”.
Melanin – a pigment that gives your skin its colour – defends against the sun’s rays by darkening unprotected sun-exposed skin.
This means any tan is considered a sign of cellular damage – regardless if you go red or not.
Any peeling skin, following a sunburn, is the body’s way to relieve itself of damaged cells.
The more a person suffers from a sunburn, the higher their chances of developing skin cancer at some point in their life.
When looking for sun protection, do choose sun cream that protects against both UVA and UVB.
In addition, seek shade – especially between 10am to 4pm, and cover-up with a sunhat.
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