Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Damaging ultraviolet rays from the sun damage the skin, leaving no part of the body immune to the dangerous effects. While many people are more aware of the damage that the sun’s rays can do the skin, including premature aging, most people forget to protect their lips. Applying sunscreen should be a natural part of your daily routine in order to protect your skin from dangerous UV rays. The lips are just as susceptible to skin cancer as any other area of your skin.
The primary cause of lip cancer, accounting for nearly 90% of occurrences, is cumulative exposure to UV light. As with all types of skin cancer, lip cancer includes both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Those with fair skin are more predisposed to developing lip cancer, as well as developing other types of skin cancer, due to the harshness of which the sun’s UV rays penetrate fair skin. Wearing a chapstick or lipstick with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15+ is essential for protecting your lips against damage.
One in five Americans will develop some type of skin cancer during his or her lifetime, so it is imperative that you take action to protect your skin – including your lips. As with all types of skin cancers, early intervention plays a key role in effective treatment. You must take any warning signs seriously so that you get the treatment and attention you need in an appropriate amount of time. At Medical Dermatology Specialists in Atlanta, we want to help you become self-aware of all skin cancer warning signs. Your first sign may be the development of a new mole or skin growth. A sign could be a mole that begins to change shape, size, or color. Lesions that itch, bleed, change, or refuse to heal are also skin cancer warning signs. No warning sign should ever be ignored!
When it comes to your lips, pay attention to how they feel and how they look. Sun poisoning is a common effect of leaving the lips unprotected. The lips will often become swollen and have blisters appear that are painful, unsightly, and last for weeks. If you notice any signs of change to your lips in terms of color, it is important to bring that to your dermatologist’s attention. Just as you should perform routine skin checks to look for new moles or growths, you should also make it a habit to examine the skin of your lips regularly. Detecting the earliest signs of change can prevent severe damage and side effects.
Contact Medical Dermatology Specialists today with any of your skin care concerns.