Despite a wealth of knowledge about prevention, skin cancer cases are increasing, especially in those 15-29 years old. In this post I offer some basic information about skin cancer. Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and cannot diagnose skin cancer. I do, however, pay attention to lesions that show characteristics of skin cancer and advise my clients to have them checked by a doctor or help them monitor the lesions for changes. All of the following information was gleaned from various sources including The Skin Cancer Foundation, The National Cancer Institute, American Academy of Dermatology, Skin, Inc, and Mary Kay, Inc.
What is skin cancer? The National Cancer Institute defines skin cancer as a disease in which cancer cells are found in the outer layers (epidermis) of the skin. The epidermis is comprised mainly of flat, scaly cells called squamous cells; round cells called basal cells; and melanocytes which are the cells that produce melanin. The 3 main types of skin cancer are named for the cells they affect: Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Basal Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
• most common form of skin cancer in most ethnic groups
• more than 2 million cases diagnosed annually
• slow growing and seldom spreads to other parts of the body
• typically found on areas exposed to the sun such as head, face, arms & hands
• primary risk factor is amount of UV exposure
• watch for translucent lesions with irregular, and possible raised, borders and tiny blood vessels through them
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
• 2nd most common skin cancer in most ethnic groups
• 700,000 new cases annually
• rarely spread to other body parts, but more commonly so than basal cell carcinoma
• found mainly on areas exposed to the sun but can form in mouth lips, and genitals
• UV exposure is the primary risk factor for most ethnic groups, but not for people of African descent. In that population the main risk factors are skin conditions that result in scarring or chronic inflammation such as leprosy, burn scars, radiation therapy, and physical trauma to the skin.
• characterized by irregular, crusted, red papules (bumps) that don't go away; they often look like warts.
Melanoma, aka Cutaneous Melanoma or Malignant Melanoma
• least common but most dangerous form of skin cancer across all ethnic groups
• more than 87,000 cases of melanoma are expected to be diagnosed in 2017
• CAN spread to other organs through the blood or lymph system
• Melanoma lesions can appear anywhere, even under finger or toenails and soles of feet.
• Lesions can start as a flat or raised pigmented area.
• The overall 5-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early, before the tumor has spread to regional lymph nodes or other organs, is about 98 percent in the US. The survival rate falls to 62 percent when the disease reaches the lymph nodes, and 18 percent when the disease metastasizes to distant organs.
• Know the ABCDE's and have a doctor examine any spot with these characteristics: Asymmetry; Border (irregular or poorly defined); Color (can be varied shades of brown, black, red, blue or white- watch for change of color); Diameter (larger than 6 mm); and Evolving (spot that changes in size, shape, or color). Also have checked any mole that feels hard, lumpy or swollen, is tender to the touch, bleeds, or oozes.
• Daily use of sunscreen cuts your risk in HALF.
Check your whole body annually. You can print out a mole map and keep track of your spots. If any lesion/spot looks suspicious, see a doctor for diagnosis. You'll find much more in depth information on the websites linked below.
American Academy of Dermatology
BODY MOLE MAP
These are just a few images of skin cancer lesions. The appearance of lesions varies widely. Consult a doctor about any lesions on your skin that concern you.
Parabens in cosmetics
Have you ever seen a product labeled "paraben free" or read something about the paraben controversy? It has been a hot topic in the beauty industry for several years now. Like mineral oil, I think parabens are getting a bad rap so I wanted to offer a little education on the topic.
What are parabens? Parabens are a class of preservatives which are naturally derived, organic, and have been used for over 80 years in thousands of products we use every day, including beauty products and food. In fact, numerous fruits and vegetables, including blueberries, carrots, cucumbers, and raspberries produce parabens to protect themselves from bacterial attacks.
Why are preservatives used in beauty products?
Preservatives are absolutely essential in topical product formulations to keep the product from becoming a bacteria breeding ground. Product labels that claim a product is "preservative free" might be misleading you. Every cosmetic product containing water (which is a LOT of them) simply has to have something in it that inhibits yeast, mold and bacteria growth or you'd have to throw it away in a few days. There are products that don't contain water or contain certain essential oils or have a pH level that inhibits organism growth and, therefore, don't need preservatives added. There are numerous preservatives formulators have to choose from; some are manmade and some come from nature (ex. honeysuckle extract).
Why is there a controversy about parabens specifically?
Parabens have been under attack since 2004 when a study by Philippa Darbre, Ph.D., was published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology. That study showed paraben-like substances in breast cancer tissue. Apparently, the media jumped on this "headline" and ran with it and the public's fear has had a major impact on the beauty industry. Never mind the fact that the experiment included no control group (the study never should have been published because of this) and the author never claimed that parabens, applied topically, were the cause of the tumors.
Because of the extreme consumer backlash against parabens, many manufacturers (including Dermalogica) are moving away from using parabens despite the scientific data supporting their safety and efficacy. Unfortunately, some of the alternative preservatives need to be added in higher concentrations, can be more irritating to the skin, and can drive up the cost of the products.
My opinion after consulting many different sources, is that parabens are safe in cosmetic preparations. As a skin therapist, it irks me that consumer opinion based on creative marketing and misinformation can sway an entire industry away from sound science and safe ingredients. You can research it and decide what's best for you. Be sure to consider the source and whether financial gain could influence the information. Below are links to a few of the articles I read.
Most of the time when someone tells me they don't like their eyeliner, I end up finding out it's because of user error. Same is usually true when someone tells me they don't wear eyeliner because "it doesn't go on right" or 'it's too dry". There are many eyeliner formulations on the market today- wooden pencil, mechanical pencil, chubby crayon, microliner, cream, gel, mousse, and liquid. You can also swipe a damp eyeliner brush across powdered eye color and use as liner. So, there's a form for everyone to claim as their favorite and mastering multiple forms will enable you to execute different eye looks with ease. Read on for just a few tips that solve some common issues. The video made by Mary Kay, Inc. demonstrates a few great tips.
Crayon is dry- assuming your crayon isn't dry due to old age, you might just need to warm it up a bit before applying. Rub the crayon on your skin until the color glides on, using care to keep the point.
Crayon skips, or you have trouble keeping the liner along your lashline- with one finger keeping your lid taught at the outer corner (be gentle, don't stretch!), apply in short strokes from the outer corner towards your nose. Think dashed lines, not a continuous line. Luis demonstrates this in the video. Start with a thin line, close to the base of your lashes and thicken by adding more lines until you get the look you want.
Trouble creating the winged look- try drawing a regular line along your lashes first then from the outer corner draw towards the outer edge of your eyebrow, tapering to a point as you go. A winged look can be achieved with pretty much any form of eyeliner, but the best staying power tends to be with gel or liquid liner which also have fine tipped applicators. If using a pencil, the tip needs to be very pointed.
If you have any more questions about eyeliner or other cosmetic application issues, please comment below or contact me via phone or email.
Please contact me right away if you see any gifts you'd like to purchase as some are limited edition and special pricing is only through Christmas. You're welcome to book a personal shopping time with me and can bring your friends along.
Please note: Dermalogica products are returnable or exchangeable. Glo products are exchangeable only.
Gift Certificates are customized for any dollar amount or specific service. For a limited time get a Dermalogica product gift ($27 value) with a certificate purchase of $75 or more.
In preparation for several new product launches in 2017, Dermalogica is phasing out quite a few products. If you see a product you like on the list, contact me soon to see if I can get it for you, as the company's inventory is selling out quickly.
Shave: Close Shave Oil, Invigorating Shave Gel, Pre-Shave Guard, Clean Bar
Body Care: Stress Relief Treatment Oil, Body Hydrating Cream (8 oz only), Conditioning Body Wash (8 oz only), Exfoliating Body Scrub, Hydro Active Mineral Salts, Ultra Rich Body Cream
Clear Start: Breakout Clearing Cool Masque, Breakout Clearing Daytime Treatment
Gray Line: Extra Firming Booster, PreCleanse Wipes, Skin Refining Masque, Skin Renewal Booster
MediBac: Concealing Spot Treatment, Skin Purifying Wipes
The company has given no information about the new products, but I'm sure they will be great!
Is your beauty professional really a professional? What do I mean? In this post I'm going to disseminate some information known largely only to those in the beauty industry who are required to know. As consumers, though, you should know more than you probably do about the legal requirements of each field. You assume your hair person went to cosmetology school and is qualified to cut/style/color your hair, right? You assume your esthetician knows a little something about skin and is qualified to give facials and skin care advice, right? But do you check to make sure they're licensed before getting a service with a supposed professional? Do you know that Iowa law requires cosmetologists, estheticians, and nail techs to display their license near the entrance to their salon (which also must be licensed) at eye level so consumers can view it?
For this post, when I'm talking about "professional", I'm referring to whether the service provider is actually a licensed professional in the field in which they are practicing, not what we might think of as a professional appearance or demeanor. To be licensed in each field of Cosmetology, you have to complete the appropriate educational program, pass the state board exam, and apply (and be approved) for a license with the Iowa Board of Cosmetology, Barbers and massage therapists have their own licensing boards with separate sets of laws & rules.
Let me back up for a moment and tell you what inspired this post. Someone asked me if a person certified in eyelash extensions has to also be a licensed cosmo or esthi. Her lash extensionist was the former, not the latter. Iowa law is very clear about this; yes, you must be a licensed cosmo or esthi to apply eyelash extensions. You do not even have to have additional certification to apply lashes, Eyelash certification is not regulated, it only means the person has attended a training class offered by a lash company; some are more thorough than others. So my friend has been paying someone who is not licensed to do what she does, and from the pictures I saw isn't good at it either.
I copied and pasted below, the various definitions for providers in the beauty industry in Iowa. I hope you'll read them and think about whether or not you're supporting an ethical professional that operates within their scope of practice. What you need to know is that if a service isn't listed in the definition, that licensee should not be performing the service. I should also note that some professionals have multiple licenses, while others, like me, do not.
Some examples of cans and can'ts for professionals with only one license:
As an esthi, I can massage skin on various body parts (not the scalp though) if I'm treating the skin, but I cannot offer massages that fall under the definition of a massage therapist because they treat muscles and connective tissue. And yes, the line is blurred here because when you massage the skin, you're inevitably going to affect the muscles and connective tissues; likewise, to massage the muscles, you are going to massage the skin.
A massage therapist cannot give pedicures or perform hair removal or braid your hair.
A cosmetologist gets to do a bit of everything, but there are restrictions. For instance, they can give a facial, but can't perform extractions or a peel. I don't see essential oils in the list of products they can use; but I'm not even going to try to make sense of that as surely they can't be expected to avoid every product that contains essential oils.
A nail tech can wax the hair off your fingers & toes, but not your chin or eyebrows.
Both cosmo's and esthi's can apply makeup and eyelashes, but no one in Iowa is just licensed as a makeup artist or lash extensionist,
A salon owner does not have to be a licensed professional but EVERY employee of the salon that performs services must be licensed. So, if you see 8 people giving manicures and only 4 licenses displayed, you might want to ask some questions.
.Click here if you want to see what some Iowa salons got caught doing (or not doing)
You might be surprised to find out that Iowa no longer has salon inspectors, just investigators. That's right, the Board is counting on salon owners to follow all the laws. They have provided us with a checklist to conduct self audits. Only when someone files a complaint does an investigator dig a little deeper. Rest assured, I police myself very well and take the rules very seriously.
Licensing requirements are meant to protect consumers and ensure at least a minimum of educational training. You deserve to receive services from people who really do know what they're doing and do it in a legal and ethical way. Even better is the professional who goes above and beyond the 8 hours of required continuing education and educates her/himself with a variety of classes every year within and outside their field (yes, I do that). If you choose to pay an unlicensed someone to apply your lash extensions in the back room of a clothing store or perm your hair in their kitchen, that's your choice, but you're allowing them to break the law, You're also undercutting those of us who followed the rules and went to school, paid for licenses and continuing education, and everything else involved with being a REAL professional service provider. There are exceptions to the law of course, your mother or sister isn't breaking the law by curling your hair or polishing your nails.
Click here if you care to read the exceptions to those who require licensing.
I hope you have found this information interesting and appreciate seeing behind the curtain, so to speak. Please feel welcome to post your comments or ask questions.
Copied directly from Iowa Code 2016, Chapter 157.1
5. “Cosmetology” means all of the following practices: a. Arranging, braiding, dressing, curling, waving, press and curl hair straightening, shampooing, cutting, singeing, bleaching, coloring, or similar works, upon the hair of any person, or upon a wig or hairpiece when done in conjunction with haircutting or hairstyling by any means. b. Massaging, cleansing, stimulating, exercising, or beautifying the superficial epidermis of the scalp, face, neck, arms, hands, legs, feet, or upper body of any person with the hands or mechanical or electrical apparatus or appliances or with the use of cosmetic preparations, including cleansers, toners, moisturizers, or masques. c. Removing superfluous hair from the face or body of a person with the use of depilatories, wax, sugars, threading, or tweezing. d. Applying makeup or eyelashes, tinting of lashes or brows, or lightening of hair on the face or body. e. Cleansing, shaping, or polishing the fingernails, applying sculptured nails, nail extensions, wraps, overlays, nail art, or any other nail technique to the fingernails or toenails of a person
12. “Esthetics” means the following: a. Beautifying, massaging, cleansing, stimulating, or hydrating the skin of a person, except the scalp, by the use of cosmetic preparations, including cleansers, antiseptics, tonics, lotions, creams, exfoliants, masques, and essential oils, to be applied with the hands or any device, electrical or otherwise, designed for the nonmedical care of the skin. b. Applying makeup or eyelashes to a person, tinting eyelashes or eyebrows, or lightening hair on the body except the scalp. c. Removing superfluous hair from the body of a person by the use of depilatories, waxing, sugaring, tweezers, threading, or use of any certified laser products or intense pulsed light devices. This excludes the practice of electrology, whereby hair is removed with an electric needle. d. The application of permanent makeup or cosmetic micropigmentation.
24. “Nail technology” means all of the following: a. Applying sculptured nails, nail extensions, wraps, overlays, nail art, or any other nail technique to the fingernails and toenails of a person. b. Massaging the hands, arms, ankles, and feet of a person. c. Removing superfluous hair from hands, arms, feet, or legs of a person by the use of wax or a tweezer. d. Manicuring the nails of a person
From Chapter 158:
1. “Barbering” means the practices listed in this subsection performed with or without compensation. “Barbering” includes but is not limited to the following practices performed upon the upper part of the human body of any person for cosmetic purposes and not for the treatment of disease or physical or mental ailments: a. Shaving or trimming the beard or cutting the hair. b. Giving facial and scalp massages or treatments with oils, creams, lotions, or other preparations either by hand, or by electrical or mechanical appliances .c. Singeing, shampooing, hair body processing, arranging, dressing, curling, blow waving, hair relaxing, bleaching or coloring the hair, or applying hair tonics. d. Applying cosmetic preparations, antiseptics, powders, oils, clays, waxes, or lotions to scalp, face, or neck. e. Styling, cutting or shampooing hairpieces or wigs when done in conjunction with haircutting or hairstyling
Lastly, from the Iowa Board of Massage, Chapter 152C.1:
3. “Massage therapy” means performance for compensation of massage, myotherapy, massotherapy, bodywork, bodywork therapy, or therapeutic massage including hydrotherapy, superficial hot and cold applications, vibration and topical applications, or other therapy which involves manipulation of the muscle and connective tissue of the body, excluding osseous tissue, to treat the muscle tonus system for the purpose of enhancing health, muscle relaxation, increasing range of motion, reducing stress, relieving pain, or improving circulation
The SUN SAFETY QUIZ 2016 as posted on my facebook page for 12 days where everyone had a chance to answer. Correct answers are highlighted in red and some additional information is added for further understanding.
#1. What does SPF stand for?
a) Sun Protection Force b) Sunscreen Protection Factor
c) Sun Protection Factor d) Sun Protection Fraction
#2 The FDA requires that all sunscreens retain their original strength for how long
A. 1 year B. 2 years C. 3 years D. 4 years
#3 One person dies of melanoma every:
A. 5 hours B. 2 hours c. 12 minutes D. 52 minutes
#4 Which rays are responsible for burning the skin?
A. UVA (accelerate aging) B. UVB C. UVC (cancer causing but stay above the ozone layer) D. UVD (don't exist as far as I know)
#5 You can skip the sunscreen on cloudy days and cold days..
A.True B. False C.can’t skip on cloudy days, but can on cold days D. Can’t skip on cold days but can on cloudy days
#6 Research show that indoor tanning increases a person’s melanoma risk by
A. 23% B. 90% C. 55% D. 75%
#7 Skin cancer lesions can develop
A. in the eyes B. under the finger/toe nails C. inside the mouth D. all of the above
#8 Fill in the blank: A person who has had one melanoma has a _____ risk of getting another melanoma.
A. 5 x higher B. 25 x higher C. 80 x higher D. 50 x higher
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a proven human carcinogen.
#9 The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an affiliate of the World Health Organization, includes which of the following on its Group 1 list of agents that are cancer-causing to humans?
A. Plutonium B. tanning devices C. cigarettes D. solar UV radiation.
E. only C & D F. all the above, many states ban tanning for minors or require parental permission while others are considering banning indoor tanning completely.
#10 Which factor is the second biggest contributor to skin aging?
a) genetics (only 10%) b) sun exposure (#1 contributor)
c) smoking d) diet
Bonus point if you know the #1 contributor.
#11: How do I treat a sunburn? It’s important to begin treating a sunburn as soon as possible. In addition to stopping further UV exposure, dermatologists recommend treating a sunburn with which of the following:
A. Cool baths to reduce the heat; and immediately applying moisturizer to help ease the discomfort caused by dryness. As soon as you get out of the bathtub, gently pat yourself dry, but leave a little water on your skin. Then apply a moisturizer to trap the water in your skin.
B. Hydrocortisone cream that you can buy without a prescription to help ease discomfort. C. Aspirin or ibuprofen. This can help reduce the swelling, redness, and discomfort.
D. Drinking extra water. A sunburn draws fluid to the skin surface and away from the rest of the body. Drinking extra water prevents dehydration. Do not treat with “-caine” products (such as benzocaine)..
E. All of the above
#12 Knowing how long a person is protected by sunscreen is a common issue of confusion but is crucial for knowing which SPF to choose. If you normally pink up (flush) or get a sunburn after being unprotected in the sun for 30 minutes, using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15, will prevent a sunburn for:
a. 45 minutes Bad news/good news, if you answered A, you’re wrong, but the good news is that you actually get longer protection than you thought
b. 1200 minutes
c. 450 minutes Many people still do not know what the Sun Protection Factor means and how much protection to expect from the product. The number is not a % of protection and you do not add the SPF factor to #minutes. The SPF factor is a MULTIPLIER. In this example, you multiply 30 minutes x 15 = 450 minutes. Reapplication every 2 hours, or more often if you get wet, is always recommended by sunscreen manufacturers. Please note that reapplication does NOT “reset” your time clock for sun exposure. The clock starts once UV hits you. Therefore, if you apply at 7 am but exposure doesn’t start until 9 am, your clock starts at 9 am and you’ll want to reapply around 11 am.
d. 600 minutes
Sources of information included: The Skin Cancer Foundation, The American Academy of Dermatology, International Dermal Institute, the FDA, and Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc.
While I love being an esthetician and enjoy the benefits of being my own boss, there are business tasks that I know need done, but get low priority. Like this website, for instance. New website designs hit the business world more than a year ago to better suit the ever growing mobile viewing market. Weebly responded by producing lots of new templates that make it relatively easy for do-it-yourselfers to upgrade and edit sites to be responsive and enter keywords, etc, etc. I started the conversion process over a year ago but just couldn't seem to make it perfect enough to go live. Well, today I decided to forgo perfection and make the goal "a work in progress". Forgive me if the fonts aren't all the same or page layouts not consistent throughout. I'll be playing with the menu bar and how to navigate the site, so please let me know if you have suggestions on how to improve the site. I absolutely hate typos and improper grammar, so feel free to point any of those findings out to me as well. The blog from my original site was the one thing that couldn't be transferred, so I will work on rebuilding the archive of articles by updating and re-posting the educational ones.
I promise I am better at being a skin health professional than a website designer!
I am a licensed esthetician and own Renewal Skin & Body Center in Iowa City, IA. I love giving facials and other services that enhance one's appearance. Even more important is to educate people about skin-related services and products.