Did you know that your skin is your largest organ? It protects you from harmful chemicals, sunlight, extreme temperatures, and even bacteria. However, the skin is very sensitive and needs care and protection, otherwise it may suffer from diseases such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, or lupus just to name a few. Moreover, because Hawai’i is constantly under the rays of the sun, many are at risk of melanoma, a type of skin cancer responsible for nearly 75% of all skin cancer related deaths. According to the 2014 data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Hawai’i has the highest rate of new melanoma diagnoses nationwide among whites, who are at the highest risk for melanoma. Furthermore, the rate of new melanoma diagnoses among whites in Hawaii is nearly triple the national average.
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What puts me at risk of developing skin disorders?
- Having fair skin
- A history of sunburns
- Excessive sun exposure
- Sunny or high altitude climates
- Precancerous skin lesions
- A family history of the disease
- A personal history of the disease
- A weakened immune system
- Exposure to radiation
- Exposure to certain substances (such as arsenic)
- Being a healthcare worker, attending day care etc. (exposure)
- Race (Some diseases are more prevalent in different races)
- Hormonal changes
- Contact with greasy or oily substances
- Friction or pressure on your skin
- Viral and bacterial infections
Why is skin health important?
Keeping your skin healthy is very important because it keeps out microbes, and prevents you from contracting infections, damaging your bones, muscles, and even internal organs! Moreover, your skin serves as a barrier for water loss, ridding your body of toxins, and regulates your body temperature. When your skin is healthy and nourished, it can do its job better.
How can I practice preventive skin care?
- Protect yourself from the sun (sunglasses, shade, sunscreen, protective clothing)
- Avoid tanning beds
- Be aware of sun-sensitizing medications
- Avoid smoking
- Treat your skin gently (limit bath time, avoid strong soaps, pat dry, shave carefully, moisturize)
- Eat a healthy diet (fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water)
- Manage stress
- Consume plenty of vitamins and anti-oxidants
- Check your skin regularly and report any changes to your doctor