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Healthy Skin for the Summer

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Q. I have fair skin, so what can I do to ensure I don’t get skin cancer?

A: Some cases of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, are hereditary. If skin cancer runs in your family, make sure you see a dermatologist each year for mole mapping. The vast majority (about 9 in 10) of skin cancer diagnoses are the result of sun exposure. You probably already know the importance of using a 30+ or higher SPF, but the best way to protect your skin is to limit the time you spend under intense sunlight.

When choosing a sunscreen, make sure it protects against UVA and UVB light. I recommend a “physical” sunscreen that can deflect the sun’s harmful rays from being absorbed into your skin.  These are sunscreens that contain zinc oxide or titanium oxide. Don’t forget to bring a hat with a wide brim and UV protection sunglasses, which can protect your eyes from developing cataracts. Finally, portable sun shelters are an inexpensive, easy-to-use solution for relaxing outdoors. And if you’re vacationing on a tropical beach, treat yourself and rent that cabana!

Q. I’ve just been told that I need to have a mole removed. Should I be worried? What should I expect from the procedure?

A: Don’t worry, mole removal is a very common procedure. The decision to remove a mole is typically based on its appearance (size, color, shape) and whether it has changed, which can be signs of skin cancer. You can expect a quick procedure in which the area is numbed with a local anesthetic. The removal method depends on your mole, but you won’t feel anything during the procedure. Afterwards, your provider will examine the mole under a microscope or send it to a pathology lab to determine whether it is malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). You will probably get a small scar, but as the saying goes, ‘better safe than sorry.’ ■

Written by: Kimberly Johnson


Kimberly Johnson, APRN, is a nurse practitioner at Mosaic Life Care in Kansas City’s Northland and is also available for consultation at the Spa at Briarcliff. Kim is Nationally Board Certified in Family Practice as a nurse practitioner and has been working in family practice for 14 years. She has also received certification for various cosmetic procedures including Laser therapy, Botox and Fillers. Kim received her Master’s Degree from The University of Missouri in Kansas City.