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Skin Cancer Awareness: Protect Your Skin

When you’re having fun outdoors, it’s easy to forget how important it is to protect yourself from the sun. Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays in as little as 15 minutes. Yet it can take up to 12 hours for skin to show the full effect of sun exposure.

Photo: A mother applying sunscreen on her son.Even if it’s cool and cloudy, you still need protection. UV rays, not the temperature, do the damage. Clouds do not block UV rays; they filter them—and sometimes only slightly. Remember to plan ahead, and keep sun protection handy in your car, bag, or child’s backpack.

Tan? There’s no other way to say it—tanned skin is damaged skin. Any change in the color of your skin after time outside—whether sunburn or suntan—indicates damage from UV rays. Using a tanning bed causes damage to your skin, just like the sun.

Types of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The two most common types, called basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, are highly curable. But melanoma, the third most common skin cancer, is more dangerous.

Risk Factors

Anyone can get skin cancer, but some things put you at higher risk, like having—

  • A lighter natural skin color.
  • A personal history of skin cancer.
  • A family history of melanoma.
  • Exposure to the sun through work and play.
  • A history of sunburns early in life.
  • Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily, or becomes painful in the sun.
  • Blue or green eyes.
  • Naturally blond or red hair.

How to Protect Yourself

Photo: A woman wearing a hat.Take precautions against sun exposure every day of the year, especially during midday hours (10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.), when UV rays are strongest and do the most damage. UV rays can reach you on cloudy days, and can reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow.

  • Seek shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Cover up with clothing to protect exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
  • Put on sunscreen with broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection and sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. The UV rays from them are as dangerous as the UV rays from the sun.

Read full article http://www.cdc.gov/features/skincancer/

BOTOX: What’s all the hype about?

By Dr. Jaffer Khan–Dubai, United Arab EmiratesTuesday, January 15, 2013

As we reach our mid 30′s, the majority of us will develop lines on the upper half of the face commonly known as “worry lines”, “frown lines” or “crow’s feet”.  This undoubtedly makes one appear older and also can give a mean or tired look to the face.  Some individuals also get tension headaches from constant usage of the forehead muscles.

Everywhere you turn, it seems as though someone is getting BOTOX. In fact, it is by far the most popular minimally-invasive cosmetic procedure. BOTOX stops muscle movement and thus cause a relaxation and disappearance of the skin creases.  In terms of “down time” and efficacy, it is superior to any form of surgical treatment for treating these lines. So if you’re thinking about getting rid of some of those wrinkles, here’s a short primer on BOTOX.

What is BOTOX? “BOTOX” is short for Botulinum Toxin, which is produced by a bacterium called Clostridium Botulinum.  It has been used since 1920, but was marketed commercially in 1997.  It has a wide variety of clinical uses for people who have problems with spastic muscle disorders, or an imbalance in eye muscles, to name a few. It can also be used in hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating of the palms or axillary areas.  It was as a result of using BOTOX for other problems on the face that its efficacy in getting rid of wrinkles was noted.

How does it work? Don’t be put off by the word toxin!  BOTOX interferes with transmission of the nerve impulse to muscles and hence stops the muscle working for a period of time.  To be used effectively, it must be placed at a correct dosage into the correct muscle.  There are a number of facial muscles, and it is the contraction of these that is responsible for facial wrinkling.  A plastic surgeon’s knowledge of the anatomy of these muscles will allow for safe placement of the toxin.

Are the injections painful? Most people tolerate the injections very well.  They are delivered through very fine gauge needles.  However, local anesthetic cream may be applied to the areas, one hour prior to treatment, for patients who are more sensitive.  Ask your plastic surgeon about this.

How long does it take to work? Results start to appear in three to five days, but may take up to a week.  Finer wrinkles will disappear right away and more established ones take more time.  With regular usage, one sometimes loses the habit of frowning altogether!  If the wrinkles are very deep, ancillary treatment with filler materials about two weeks post injection may be necessary to achieve 100% result.

What are the side effects? This is an important question and patients need be informed about the side effects.  If for some reason the toxin moves to a muscle which is not a target muscle, such as the muscle which opens the eye or the ocular muscles which move the eye, then side effects can occur.  These are rare and involve drooping of the eyelid, or double vision.  Remember that the effects of BOTOX last only for four to six months at best, and when a really small dose causes a side effect, it usually reverses itself back to normal in three to four weeks.

How much does it cost? The prices from clinic to clinic vary.  The American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2011 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report shows that the national average surgeon/physician fee for BOTOX is $365 per area treated. Six to eight injections are typically required for the eyes, five for frown lines, and 10 to 12 for forehead lines.