The Facts About Melanoma


Just as the temperatures are finally getting us out of our long hibernation and we are welcoming the sun back with a deep sigh of relief, we are hearing that we must resist offering our complexions to uber-doses of sun light no matter how glowing and sexy they can make us feel. We are not talking about the risks of wrinkles and photo aging, certainly traumatic in their right but of this pernicious nuisance and brand of skin cancer called melanoma. In case you missed it, last month was Melanoma Awareness Month. You know of the enemy or heard about it but you probably thought that you were off limits at your young and tender age from a disease that you think mostly strikes older ladies on the golf or the tennis court. Research data however point to the reverse and indicates that melanoma is growing among younger populations. Today the highest rate of melanoma affects women between the ages of 25 and 29. Scientists blame the depletion of the ozone layer that used to protect us from rays of ultra violet light.

In case you are not clear on that, let me define what is melonoma and what are the symptoms you shoud look for. According to the website, melanoma begins in melanocytes, the cells that produce the pigment melanin that colors the skin, hair, eyes as well as forms moles. What you should look out for are spots of uneven or asymetric shape, with an irregular or jagged border of an often mixed black, brown, tan or changing coloration, the size can be a diameter larger than 6mm or the size of a pencil eraser. Also look out for any evolving moles that change in size, shape, color or elevation. Melanoma is not to be taken too lightly because it has a tendency to spread to lymph nodes and other areas of the body like the liver, bones, brain or lungs.

Most melonoma cases occur from a lack of efficient sun protection from harmful UVs. A lot of us are still slack about using adequate sunscreens and getting our skin checked for unusual spots. It is for this reason that in order to incite true behavioral change in sun protection, last April, La Roche-Posay a world wide expert in UV protection launched its second year campaign SOS-Save Our Skin to inform Americans about the dangers of UV rays. Thanks to this initiative, skins checks have been on the rise and suspicious lesions have been detected early and referred to dermatologists. This year SOS Save Our Skin plans to go further and distribute 8000 kits to dermatologists containing all the tools to educate patients regarding a proper skin check.

A viral component is included in the kit like the new I phone application ‘ My UV check ” which provides an index for the day’s UVA and UVB exposure in the users location. During two Yankees games, as part of this initiative, free skin checks will also take place this season. La Roche-Posay will also donate $ 750 000 to the Women’s Dermatologic Society (WDS) to support the WDS Play Safe in the Sun Campaign. The mission of the WDS campaign is to spread the message of sun safety and skin cancer prevention to the public through a series of community service outreach events, including large-scale outdoor events and grassroots activities.

Mineral sunscreens are becoming the sunscreen of choice for most women in the country as they become aware of chemical vs non-chemical sunscreens. They need to check though that their non-chemical sunscreens deliver the same level of protection as octinozate or ozybenzone based sunscreens as this is not always the case.

A very effective sunscreen is the one that La Roche-Posay is launching this spring, the Anthelios Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid SPF 50 with cell-ox shield™ that offers 100% mineral UVA/UVB protection down to the cellular level in a unique lightweight formulation and non-whitening texture. In a combination of mineral sun filter and powerful anti-oxidants it offers a unique UV filtering system with an optimized blend of titanium dioxide using a superior dispersion technology.

Available at

Josie Maran Argan Oil Infused Daily Sun Protection is a non-irritating sunscreen that employs natural titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to provide tested levels of broad-spectrum UVA/UVB. It has an SPF 40+ and is infused with sun damage-fighting Argan Oil. This extra-mild formula is comfortable to wear and safe for even the most sensitive skin including that of babies and toddlers. PABA-free and chemical-free with a delicate apricot scent, the light, smooth sunscreen can be applied under makeup for a moisturizing base.

Available at Sephora and

We tend not to protect the lips in the summer because they don’t tan! But lips are skin surfaces that need protection from harmful UVs too. Lavanila has a Healthy Lip Sunscreen that delivers intense hydration and high-level protection by infusing pure Shea Butter with Natural Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. Unlike synthetic formulas that slide right off the pout, this powerful hydrator gets the job done while hydrating the lips with soothing vanilla and cool peppermint. No petrochemicals, phthalates, propylene glucol, mineral oils, silicones, synthetic dyes, sulfates and parabens.

Available at Sephora and

Melanoma Awareness does not mean that you cannot enjoy the sun but that you just need to learn your ABCs in sun protection. A recent study of more than 1,600 adults showed that regular use of sunscreen led to a 50% decrease in melanoma. “With skin cancer on the rise, it’s important to educate as many people as possible about the dangers of sun exposure and the importance of daily sun protection and regular skin checks said Yannick Raynaud, general manager for La Roche-Posay USA.. Thanks to initiatives such as SOS Save Our Skin and the Women’s Dermatologic Society ‘s Play Safe in the Sun campaign behaviors have really started to evolve giving us hope that the dangers of melanoma can be reversed. Make sure to visit one of the events organized by SOS Save Our Skin and Play Safe In The Sun Campaign this summer. For a list of all related events and dates, please go to or

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