Archive for Skin Care

Can You Tell Good Moles from Bad? Know the Warning Signs for Skin Cancer

As a massage therapist, I spend a lot of time looking at skin. In fact, I look at a lot of skin people can’t easily see without a mirror or camera – the back, the back of the legs, posterior arms, etc. Occasionally, when I see a mole that looks different or a little suspicious, I mention it to clients. It’s hard to see your own back, and when I’m working with people who live alone, I take extra care to let them know about what I see.

Skin cancer can be deadly, especially if it’s not caught until it’s late stage. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lives and over 2 million people are diagnosed annually with skin cancer. Chances are you know someone who has had skin cancer or had moles removed and tested for cancer cells. To keep from becoming part of that statistic, start a regular examination of your body for moles and know what to look for.

Since both my parents have recently been diagnosed with skin cancer, I wanted to refresh my memory and yours about suspicious moles and lesions on the skin. There’s an easy acronym to remember what to look for when watching out for skin cancer: know your ABCDEs.

A-Asymmetry

Normal moles are symmetrical. This means that if you draw a line down the middle of them (the diameter) they will look the same on each side of the line. This applies both to the shape of the mole and the elevation of the mole above the skin. Moles which are asymmetrical and don’t match up well side to side need to checked by a physician to rule out skin cancer.

B-Border

Typical moles have a smooth border. Moles with a jagged, notched or blurry edge may indicate melanoma or other skin cancer.

C-Color

If the mole has more than one color or skin tone to it, you’ll want to have it checked out by a physician. Normal moles are a single color or shade. Atypical moles might have two or more colors, e.g. two shades of brown, or browns, pinks and reds together. In addition, if a previously monotone mole starts to change in color, you may be at risk for developing skin cancer in that area.

D-Diameter

Moles the size of a pencil eraser or smaller are well within normal size. Moles larger than the diameter or a pencil eraser should be assessed.

E-Evolving

If the mole is evolving, changing in shape, color, texture, or if it begins to itch or bleed, you should have it examined. Melanomas can grow or change quickly, so take note if a mole starts changing and get an assessment from your physician. Also take note of a change in height of the mole as that can indicate skin cancer.

Self-screening

One way to track moles is to check them once a month. You can do a visual assessment yourself, or have a spouse or family member check you. Taking dated pictures will allow you to track changes easily and will be helpful to your physician or dermatologist in establishing a timeline for skin growth. Make sure you check your back, buttocks, posterior legs and as much of your scalp as you can. Skin cancer doesn’t always form in areas of high sun exposure on the body. If you find anything atypical, consult your physician.

Suspicious Moles Can Appear on Genitals and Retinas

Don’t forget that skin cancer/cancerous moles can also grow on the genitals and in the eye. If you’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer or suspicious moles, mention it to your gynecologist and your ophthamologist so that they can check the eyes and genitals as you are examined.

Skin cancer in very treatable when caught early, but you need to know what to keep an eye out for on your skin. Just remember your ABCDE’s and you’ll be ahead of the game.

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Do It Yourself Sugar Scrub

Brown sugar crystals

Help your skin recover from the winter’s dry spell by using homemade skin care scrubs. It’s as simple as taking some sugar and adding some oil. Exfoliating with scrubs will loosen up the dry surface skin so it can easily wash away in the shower, leaving healthy, soft skin on the surface.

In the recipes below they call for olive oil, but you can use any light, natural oil (almond or coconut oils are always good on the skin) to make your own scrub. If you’d rather have a scented scrub, just add a drop or two of your favorite essential oils.

I’m a big fan of lavendar and clary sage, so I add a drop of each when I’m making my own skin care products. You could add orange or lemongrass essential oil for a citrus scent, or patchouli or clove oil for a stronger, exotic scent.

Organic Homemade Sugar Scrub Recipes

Basic Sugar Scrub Recipe
1/2 cup of natural sugar
Enough virgin olive oil to moisten sugar.
Gently massage the sugar scrub onto the skin before showering. Then shower as usual.

Soothing Aloe Vera Sugar Scrub Recipe
White cane sugar
Enough vegetable glycerin to moisten sugar
Several drops of Aloe Vera Oil
Natural coloring if desired.
Spread mixture gently onto your skin and massage gently for one minute then leave in place for three to four minutes. Rise with warm water.

Sensitive Skin Sugar Scrub
Sugar scrubs are very gentle but if you have ultra sensitive skin you may enjoy a brown sugar scrub. Here is a recipe to get you started.

Almond Brown Sugar Scrub for Sensitive Skin
1 Cup natural brown sugar
1/2 cup sweetened almond oil
1 tsp of vitamin E
1/2 tsp of vanilla
1/2 tsp of honey.
Mix ingredients together and apply to the skin. Massage gently for one minute and rinse with warm water.

To make your own personalized sugar scrub, vary the ingredients to suit your preferences. Experiment with a selection of your favorite essential oils and vary the type of basic oil you use. Choose from peanut oil, sesame oil, corn oil, virgin olive oil according to your personal taste. Add natural coloring if you desire. It’s easy and fun to create the perfect natural sugar scrub that you will enjoy using often.

via Homemade sugar scrub – 3 quick homemade sugar scrub recipes.

Enjoy!

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You’ve Got Fruit on Your Face!

strawberries in a cup

I think I might rather eat the Fruit Toner rather than put it on my face, but either way, it’s a natural way to clean your face and tone your skin.  See the link at the end for all 4 natural skin cleansers.

Yogurt Cleanser

* 2 ounces yogurt or kefir
* 2 tablespoons raw honey
* Flesh of one-half avocado
* 1 to 2 ounces peeled and sliced green apple
* 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice
* 1 to 2 teaspoons olive or jojoba oil

Blend. Massage into face. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat if necessary.

Fruit Toner

Juice equal amounts of strawberries, apples, oranges and cherries. Apply regularly for a soft and radiant skin.

via Home-Care Recipes for Healthy Skin.

If you’ve got a powerful blender, you could probably just blend the Fruit Toner rather than go through the trouble of juicing.

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