Anti-Aging & Sun Damaged Skin Care
The best prevention is minimizing UV exposure as much as possible. Behaviors
that reduce skin cancer risk include limiting or minimizing exposure to
the sun during midday hours; wearing protective clothing and using proper
Not all sunscreens are created equal. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) consider sunscreen products to be over-the-counter (OTC) drugs;
therefore no standard testing is established. The U.S. sunscreen industry
has been waiting 30 years for suggestions regarding product labeling.
Most companies use terms such as “UVA/UVB protection” or “Broad-Spectrum
Protection” based on the presence of certain ingredients that offer
protection from UVA and UVB. The sun protection factor (SPF) is a laboratory
measure of the effectiveness of sunscreen from UVB. The SPF reflects the
amount of time a person can spend in the sunlight before receiving a sunburn
relative to a person in the sunlight without sunscreen. This is an imperfect
measure because to date there is no way to quantify how effective a product
is a shielding UVA. In 2007, the FDA published a new rating system for
labeling products with specific regard to UVA protection. This four-star
method consists of four progressive categories, denoted as low (one star)
to high (four stars).
Active ingredients should be considered when choosing a sunscreen. Select
a product that contains the highest allowable percentage of Zinc oxide
(25%) and Titanium dioxide (25%). Both do not undergo significant chemical
change or photo-degradation with exposure to UV. Avobenzone (3%) is the
only truly effective UVA absorber available and offers the greatest photostability.
Recently there has been increased concern regarding synthetic compounds
and carcinogenic effect. Further study is needed. Some researchers suggested
as UV filter ingredients absorb into deeper layers of the skin, superficial
layers are left vulnerable. Sunscreen makers are developing products that
stay on the surface, with minimal absorption and possible contain antioxidants
that can stabilize free radicals.
Natural & Non-Surgical Treatment Options
Research suggests that eating green leafy vegetables may help prevent
subsequent Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) among patients with SCC history.
Consumption of unmodified dairy products (i.e. whole milk, cheese and
yogurt) may increase the risk of SCC in at risk patients. One recent small
study suggested drinking regular tea and an inverse association with skin
cancer growth. Similar effects are suspected of other botanical agents
including ginkgo biloba, vitamin E and C, carotenoids and selenium. A
promising study demonstrated strong evidence to support a role for Omega-3
fatty acids (FA) in the prevention of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer (NMSC).
Omega-3 FA has been shown to modulate a number of cytokines and prostaglandins
that mediate inflammatory and immune responses, factors implicated in
the development of skin cancers in UV irradiated skin. It should be noted
that much further study is needed to validate any of these claims and
traditional preventative measures and treatments are still the gold standard
for skin cancer treatment.