Skin cancer: know how to choose a good sunscreen

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Increased sun exposure in the summer can lead to various health problems, such as skin cancer. Protecting yourself from UV rays by using sunscreen is essential to avoid common illnesses this time of year.

In an interview with Acorda Cidade, dermatologist Helga Clementino, who works in the Feira de Santana clinics, gave advice on how to choose a good sunscreen, depending on your skin type.

Photo: Ney Silva

According to her, the skin on the face is different from the rest of the body, which should be taken into account when choosing a product.

“The skin on our face is different from the rest of the body. It is generally oilier and a very oily protector will annoy and weigh it down. Face lotion is usually a little drier than body lotion, which needs to spread a little more, so it’s a smoother lotion. The best option, from my point of view, is to seek out a professional, if you have access to one, so they can help you choose the best one for your skin type. But if you don’t have the opportunity to go to the dermatologist, today in the big pharmacies you can find a trained professional who can help you buy a product that is good, safe and reliable,” the specialist pointed out.

It indicates protectors with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30, and people who have already had a skin-related health problem should prefer one with an even higher protection factor.

“We have sunscreens with SPF, which we call factor 30, 50, 50+, and in these protections, the higher the protection factor, the more protected we are, so it makes a difference. Factor 30 is ideal for most of us. If someone has had cancer, it is ideal to use a sunscreen with a higher factor, starting at 50, 60 or 70. Sunscreen with a base color has a substance called iron oxide, which really increases the product protection, because it reflects more light, so a basic protector offers us greater protection.

In periods of greatest incidence of the sun’s rays, the use of sunscreens, according to the doctor Helga Clementino, should also be combined with other forms of mechanical protection, such as clothing with fabrics that guarantee adequate protection from the sun’s rays, hats, caps and sunglasses.

All these precautions are aimed at preventing skin cancer in the population, which according to the specialist is among the most common ailments.

“The skin, as the largest organ of the human body, can also have cancerous lesions. There are three main types of skin cancer, the most common is basal cell carcinoma, the other intermediate, which is squamous cell carcinoma, and the most serious of all is melanoma, which can metastasize, spread and lead to failure of other organs. and even death. New lesions usually appear, such as a spot where there wasn’t one, a mole appearing where it didn’t exist. This is the warning sign,” the doctor advised.

He highlighted that there are other signs that can be observed directly by the dermatologist, who has a trained eye to identify lesions on the skin.

“There are other warning signs, which dermatologists are trained to do, which we call ABCD. A stands for asymmetry, B for rough edges, the size of the lesion, if it’s more than half a centimeter, 5 millimeters, then these are some details that we see in the spots. The trained eye of the dermatologist who will pay attention or not to the need to do a biopsy or the removal of that lesion”.

Helga Clementino warned that most skin cancers are asymptomatic.

“It doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t itch, it doesn’t burn, so that’s where we have to be very careful. Sometimes, in some types of cancer, they also bleed more easily in one spot or small lump. These are warning signs, but waiting for symptoms is not.

Exposure to the sun is the main risk factor for the development of skin cancer, especially in light-exposed areas such as the face, bow tie, neck region, arms, which are the regions most affected by the sun and some professionals are at high risk of developing the disease.

“Light skin means that it has less melanin, which is that pigment in our skin and serves as a filter for the sun’s rays, and if I have less melanin, I have less filter and the sun’s ray passes more, so the sun damages it. is greater… Skin cancer is treatable and most of the time the treatment is done with minor surgery. In some cases, treatments with laser, photodynamic therapy or other types can also be performed, and when it comes to a more serious skin tumor, with metastases, then you have to undergo chemotherapy,” he explained.

child care

According to the dermatologist, treatment must begin in childhood, as the skin of the human body has a cellular memory.

“The main advice is to avoid exposure to the sun, which in most of our life occurs in childhood, so we must take care of our children, because the problem does not manifest itself in childhood, but later, because the skin has memory. So let’s take care of our children, use sunscreen, sunscreen, hat and cap on them, and we adults will also keep this care. Avoiding sun exposure at the most dangerous times i.e. between 10am and 4pm, the use of a broad spectrum sunscreen, the use of physical barriers which are clothing, hats, caps, all of this it helps,” he advised.

The dermatologist stressed that this awareness should take place throughout the year.

“This skin cancer awareness is due to the reference to summer, when people are more exposed to the sun. It’s the Brazilian Society of Dermatology’s way of alerting and getting people to look at themselves, even do a self-examination, to see if they identify anything new. So it’s summer, it’s starting, the alert is higher, we have more exposure and remembering that we are in Brazil and the Northeast where the incidence of the release is very high. So it’s to reinforce the need for care in relation to this as well. The use of sunglasses also helps protect the skin around the eyes, because they have skin cancer that appears in this lower eyelid, and sometimes a dermatologist surgeon must come along with the ophthalmologist to treat it.

With information from journalist Ney Silva of Acorda Cidade.

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