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From Skin Cancer to Skin Health

Image of woman applying moisturiser to her face

An annual skin check is promoted as the best way to combat skin cancer, but there are additional preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk of having a skin cancer reoccurrence.

With 95% of skin cancers due to accumulated sun damage, most patients who are diagnosed with skin cancer will also have an overall poor skin health. Sun damaged skin usually appears reddened and dry with raised actinic keratotic lesions that have a propensity to turn into skin cancers.

“If we can treat the actinic keratoses, maintain skin health and protect the skin from further sun damage, the risk of subsequent skin cancers can be reduced” said Dr Sally Shaw, skin cancer expert at Peninsula Skin Cancer Centre.

“Medical grade field treatment for sun damaged skin includes PhotoDynamic Therapy, Ingenol mebutate topical cream, medical microdermabrasion and chemical peels” said Dr Shaw. “These treatments will remove the damaged surface skin cells and also improve the overall appearance of the skin. The patient will need to follow a skin care regime and protect their skin from further sun damage with daily sunscreen use and covering up in the sun” she said.

“There are also some over-the-counter skin repair creams available at the pharmacy. Look for a cream that contains retinol to promote skin repair and creams with alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA’s) or salicylic acid to promote exfoliation of dead skin cells.“

“Studies have also shown that vitamin B3 has an anti-cancer effect and can be taken orally or rubbed on the skin. Most sunscreens now have vitamin B3 (in the form of nicotinamide) as an ingredient or the effective oral dose is 500mg of Nicotinamide twice per day.”

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