Newsletter Vol. 3 No. 7 - Healthy Aging

September is "healthy aging" month. This newsletter outlines three helpful rules to care for your skin as you age.

To help care for your skin as you age, follow these three rules.

Watch for any suspicious changes to your skin
After the age of forty, skin seems to change fairly quickly, especially if your youth was spent in the sun. Many of the changes are normal and associated with aging, while others are not. Establish a routine of monthly self-examinations and annual visits to your health provider. Middle-aged and older men should be particularly encouraged (asking someone to help if needed) because they are least likely to detect melanoma in its early stages, when it is almost always curable through surgical removal.

Understand that some damage has been done already
You may not be able to see the damage, but don't believe your eyes. Baby boomers are unlikely to have known about sun protection or the risks of sun exposure during their early years. You know about the dangers now, so assume there has been some damage and avoid adding to it. You can ask your dermatologist to use an ultraviolet (UV) camera, which will reveal the amount of sun damage you may have and will alert you to your risk for skin cancer.

Use sun protection to avoid adding to potential problems
If damage has already occurred to your skin cells, then further exposure to UV rays could prompt the cells to mutate and become cancerous. A sunburn during middle age or later may be the one that triggers a cancer. On the other hand, over time, careful protection against the sun may help partially reverse some of the damage.

Remember, celebrate your age, enjoy the outdoors while being SunAWARE and take care of yourself for years of healthy aging.