GET MY DERMATOLOGIST-RECOMMENDED TIPS FOR LOWERING YOUR RISK OF GETTING SKIN CANCER
What you apply on your skin is important, especially when you are at a higher risk for skin cancer. I guide my skin cancer patients to choose products that are loaded with the antioxidants that are proven to fight skin cancer. My patients use broad spectrum mineral zinc oxide based sunscreens from sun up to sun down. We also work hard to control inflammation on their skin by treating any chronic rashes, dryness and inflammation that happens from sun damage itself. These 3 changes in your skin care routine will reap big benefits in resisting skin cancers.
Can You Really Lower Your Risk of Skin Cancer Once the Sun Damage Is Done?
We see it every day! In my California dermatology practice, we have specialized in treating skin cancer patients for over 25 years. We see patients daily who have lowered their risk of getting skin cancer, because they are finally taking good care of their skin. They use products with antioxidants, retinoids and mineral zinc oxide sun screens in their daily skin care routine. This helps reduce the amount of skin cancers and precancers they develop and improves their skin’s look and feel.
My first ah-ha moment occurred over 20 years ago, during the routine skin exam of a woman I had known for years. Her fair skin suffered from rosacea and facial seborrhea, and she would develop skin cancers and precancers at an astonishing rate. Once she started using a product with a ultra-high concentration of pharmaceutically pure and active green tea polyphenol antioxidants in her skin care routine, along with a zinc oxide sunscreen, there was a huge change in how many precancers her facial skin developed. My chart notes were the proof: she went from having over 15 precancers treated at each visit to 3 per visit! We were both astonished.
We have even better information and sun screen products today. There have been scientific studies showing the benefits of green tea antioxidants and inflammation control in reducing the risk of skin cancers. If your skin has suffered sun damage that puts you at high risk for skin cancer, then it is important you optimize your skin care routine with the best products.
What Skin Care Products Do Dermatologists Recommend for People at Risk for Skin Cancer?
These recommendations come from my practice. It is also how I take care of my own fair, sun-damaged skin.
The Sun Needs to Be Entirely Kept Off Your Skin
Use only the best sunscreen products. Apply sunscreen first thing in the morning and reapply in intense sun exposure. Use clothing and hats to also protect your skin. Follow my sun protection guidelines which you will find by clicking here.
My 30 year observation of sunscreen science has led me to trust only mineral zinc oxide based products. I’ve seen all others fail my patients continuously. Pick the right product for your needs, skin type and budget. Learn the differences by clicking here to see my sunscreen comparison chart.
Add antioxidant skin care ingredients to your daily skin care. The best are green tea polyphenols and vitamin C. Not all products with these ingredients will work, however. You need high concentrations of pharmaceutically pure and stable antioxidants to reap the benefits. I’ve made it my business to have exactly the right formulations for my skin cancer patients. They are found in my Vitamin C Serums and my Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy. I will tell you below how you can incorporate these into your complete skin care routine, so you can benefit from these powerful products.
Antioxidants applied to your skin can act as an extra type of protection against damaging free radicals formed from sun exposure. Layering these products under your sunscreen gives you a reservoir of helpful antioxidants.
Control skin inflammation from common rashes to help focus your skin’s resources on fighting skin cancer. There is scientific evidence that inflamed skin is depleted of antioxidants, and thus more prone to skin cancer. If you have facial inflammation from rosacea and/or seborrhea (two of the most common facial rashes of adulthood), then you want to get it under control.
Add vitamin A retinoid products to help lower your risk of skin cancer. You can use a prescription product such at tretinoin or use a non-prescription retinol product such as my professional strength Retinol Night Cream. These products are to be used at bedtime, because the vitamin A retinoid breaks down on contact with light.
How Do You Create a Complete Skin Care Routine to Fight Skin Cancer?
Build a complete skin care routine that includes the above products. Complete skin care means using well-suited products for the key skin care steps: Cleanse, Correct, Hydrate, and Protect.
Most skin cancers happen on the face and neck, so getting your facial skin care routine optimized is important. Here is my most popular facial skin care routine for people at a higher risk for skin cancer:
Cleanse: Wash with the Calming Zinc bar soap if you have facial redness. If you don’t suffer from facial redness, then choose a cleanser matched to your skin type.
Hydrate: Apply a moisturizer if needed that matches your skin type. For dry skin, options include my All Natural Face, Hand and Body Lotion or All Natural Face and Body Butter Cream or Daily Moisturizing Face Cream. For oily to normal complexions, the preference is my Face Cream for Oily to Normal Skin.
Protect: Wear the zinc oxide sunscreen that matches your skin type and lifestyle. My most popular products are: Sheer Strength Pure Physical Sunscreen for the face (all skin types) or Suntegrity 5 in 1 BB Cream for dry skin. Sheer Strength Pure Physical Spray is a great facial sunscreen and is also excellent for the ears, neck and scalp.
Cleanse: As above.
Hydrate: With the creams mentioned above, if needed.
Antioxidant skin care products don’t work well for thicker non-facial skin. The skin of the décolleté (upper chest area) can be treated like the face, but arms, back, hands and legs are more resistant. Using sunscreen and keeping skin well hydrated and healthy is the best skin care for these tougher areas.
The role of antioxidants in photoprotection: A critical review, Lucy Chen, BA, Judy Y. Hu, MD, and Steven Q. Wang, MD, J Am Acad Dermatol 2012;67:1013-24.
Skin photoprotection by natural polyphenols: Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and DNA repair mechanisms, Joi A. Nichols, Santosh K. Katiyar, Arch Dermatol Res. 2010 March ; 302(2): 71
Green Tea Polyphenol Treatment to Human Skin Prevents Formatin of Ultraviolet Light B-induced Pyrimidine Dimers in DNA, Santosh K. Katiyar et. al., Clin Cancer Res 2000;6:3864-3869
Green tea prevents non-melanoma skin cancer by enhancing DNA repair, Santosh K. Katiyar, Arch Biochem Biophys. 2011 Apr 15; 508(2): 152–158.
Green Tea Polyphenols Prevent UV-Induced Immunosuppression by Rapid Repair of DNA Damage and Enhancement of Nucleotide Excision Repair Genes, Santosh K. Katiyar1,2, Mudit Vaid1, Harry van Steeg3, and Syed M. Meeran, Cancer Prev Res; 3(2); 179–89
Caffeine and caffeine sodium benzoate have a sunscreen effect, enhance UVB-induced apoptosis, and inhibit UVB-induced skin carcinogenesis in SKH-1 mice. Lu YP, Lou YR, Xie JG, Peng QY, Zhou S, Lin Y, Shih WJ, Conney AH. Carcinogenesis. 2007 Jan;28(1):199-206.
Topical applications of caffeine or epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) inhibit carcinogenesis and selectively increase apoptosis in UVB-induced skin tumors in mice, Yao-Ping Lu, You-Rong Lou, Jian-Guo Xie, Qing-Yun Peng, Jie Liao, Chung S. Yang, Mou-Tuan Huang,and Allan H. Conney, PNAS September 17, 2002; vol. 99 (19); 12455–12460
Microfine Zinc Oxide is a Superior Sunscreen Ingredient to Microfine Titanium Dioxide, Sheldon R. Pinnell, MD, et. al., Dermatol Surg 2000;26:309-314