The month of May being dedicated to Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness brings the risks associated with sun exposure and the link with potential skin cancers to the fore of public opinion. To support this global health initiative, Persona Med-Aesthetic Centre, in collaboration with its team of leading dermatologists and supported by SkinCeuticals Advanced Skincare, shall be offering a number of free consultations for mole assessment throughout May, thereby increasing awareness about the importance of prevention and early detection of melanoma.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops from melanin-producing cells, which are normally located in the basal layer of the epidermis or within the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin. Aggressive forms of melanoma can spread to almost any organ in the body, making it of vital importance to detect it an early stage.
By far the biggest risk for developing melanoma is sun damage (UV radiation). The effects of sun damage are cumulative, meaning that they build up over time. Up to the age of around 30, cells recover quickly from damage and thus visible damage like sunspots, wrinkles and moles are relatively rare. Nonetheless every episode of sun exposure builds up damage (especially in sunny climates like Malta), which comes apparent and visible later in life.
Unfortunately, local dermatologists have seen a sharp rise in cases of melanoma over the last years. Experts indicate that this rise is due to a couple of different factors, such as the depletion of the ozone layer, popularity of tanning beds, more revealing fashion styles, and social norms encouraging the desirability of tanned skin. While it’s true that our bodies need a daily dose of Vitamin D, absorbing enough sunlight to reach your daily requirements is no problem for people living in Malta. With the amount of sun hours and strength of the UV rays in Malta, our daily required dose is easily satisfied without the need for any extra effort.
To protect against the harmful effect of UV radiation, it is recommended to seek shade and avoid the sunniest hours of the day, roughly between 11.00 and 16.00. When outdoors, try to protect your skin as much as possible, wearing a hat, sunglasses and clothing that covers you skin. Also, as a general rule of thumb, it is highly recommended to use a high factor broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF50+) throughout the year, especially in our sun-blessed Malta. In the summer months it is important to re-apply your sunscreen every 2-3 hours throughout the day when exposed to the sun.
Together with SkinCeuticals, Persona Med-Aesthetic Centre emphasizes on the fact that for optimal protection, the use of antioxidants in combination with a broad-spectrum sunscreen will be greatly beneficial and increase one’s protection level against harmful UV & IRA rays. Recent studies show that IRA (infra red radiation) is also responsible for skin’s photo-damaging effects, hence modern sun protection should include filters, that provide IRA protection as well. Whereas sunscreens protect against UVA and UVB radiation from the outside, antioxidants work from the inside, protecting against free radicals formation and DNA damage to skin caused by UV & IRA rays. Studies show that even the best sunscreen, when applied, offers up to 55% protection against UV damage, but when combined with a powerful and well-formulated antioxidant, protection levels rise even up to 98%. In this light, during the month of May, Persona is offering a Free sunscreen to all those who purchase one of SkinCeuticals’ revolutionary antioxidant products, to help educate on the importance of combining and anti-oxidant with a high SPF sunscreen in one’s daily routine.
Another important element in the fight against melanoma is self-examination, for you to detect suspicious lesions as early as possible, and bring these to the attention of your dermatologist at a very early stage when treatment has a very high success-rate.
A popular method for self-examination is the ABCDE-method, where the letters stand for 5 indicating factors of melanoma; A – for Asymmetry in shape, B – for irregular Borders, C – for Colour variations, D – large (6mm+) Diameter, E – for Evolution that marks a change over time.
‘Dermatologists world-wide insist that there’s nothing healthy about a sun tan, therefore through this campaign, we hope more people will become aware of the dangers of unprotected or inadequately-protected sun exposure’, says Kate Demanuele, General Manager of Persona Med-Aesthetic Centre. ‘Prevention and early detection measurements of skin cancer, can save lives, therefore we hope this campaign will have its needed impact on people’s lifestyle and their skin health.’
By harnessing the power and influence of print and social media, Persona’s aim is to spread the message about melanoma as far and wide as possible. Various informative materials will be spread through Persona’s website (www.persona.com.mt) and its Facebook page (Persona Med-Aesthetic Centre) as well as through the local facebook page of SkinCeuticals, and through local bloggers and media, hoping to reach a bigger crowd.
We remind the public that as part of its SkinCeuticals year-long charity campaign launched earlier this year, Persona will donate 5% of all SkinCeuticals 2015 sales to Hospice Malta at the end of 2015. SkinCeuticals antioxidants and high quality, broad-spectrum sunscreens are available exclusively at Persona Med-Aesthetic Centre in Ta’ Xbiex or can also be purchased online through the web shop.