Sunday, February 26, 2012

How sun-damaged is my skin? UV scan reveals all!

As my regular readers would know, I have super pale skin. It took me a while to accept my porcelain complexion,but after years of basting myself in fake tan and too-dark bronzer, I've come to actually appreciate my skin tone.


Despite my desire for a burnished tan, I always used sunscreen, both in summer on the beach and on my exposed and face in my day-to-day life. Without getting too preachy, sunscreen isn't just for us whiteys, but crucial for everyone with an aversion to dying from skin cancer, regardless of your ability to tan (you bitch!).


I mentally hi-fived Past Michaela for being so sunsafe when I had my skin checked out by Consultant dermatologist Dr Stephen Shumack at a work junket for the new interactive iPhone app Know Your Own Skin. The app gives you the tools to check and track any changes in moles, freckles and their ilk and a guide on how to check every inch of your skin for sun damage.


Coming back to me, the heroine in our story of loss and redemption, I plopped my face in the UV photo light thingie (I believe this is the correct technical term) as it took a series of shots.


Good God, check out the uneven foundation blending on this ho
Above is how I appear to the naked eye, albeit with scary bright lighting. Fairly even texture, without many sun blemishes or visible damage.


Below is the UV image that reveals areas of sun damage.
AHHHHHHHHHH!
You can see most of the darker spots, indicating damage, are concentrated on my forehead, chin and across my cheeks. Dr Shumack noted that my nose is unusually pale compared to others in my age group and skin type, thanks to a liberal use of zinc. Out of ten, one being a snowman and ten being Donatella Versace, I rate a respectable two. While it's a bit of a jarring scare tactic, I'll definitely be even more vigilant about protecting my skin after seeing what previous lapses in care have resulted in.

To prevent future damage, Dr Shumack and the Know Your Own Skin initiative recommend using a daily sunblock (obvious yes, but daily means daily, not just in summer or when you remember). Physical formulas are best, as they provide the best cover, chemical ones are fine, especially for the office plebs like myself. However working outdoors, cycling into work or being a slack student dozing off on the beach demands a physical block, no excuses.

As you age, self-regulation becomes more important as your risk for developing abnormal sun spots increases. While those under 35 are fine to swan up to their doctor's for a suss once a year, those over 40 are encouraged to get looked at every three months.

As a avid fan of not getting cancer, I take care to look after my skin by slathering on and reapplying sunscreen and not standing out in the sun like a total dill. I wholeheartedly recommend you do the same (be sunsmart, not be a total dill).

You can download the Know Your Own Skin app for free from the Apple App Store, or the initiative's homepage here.


23 comments:

  1. Yikes I do not have the guts to get one of these thingies done, my sun damage is written all over my face already in the form of freckles albeit made worse by pregnancy pigmentation which I'm praying will fade soon! I'm a big fan of zinc based sunscreens though and generally do my best to avoid the burning hours.

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    1. I was so nervous doing it, it reminds me of those lights used at MU counters to magnify your pores. Scary!

      Good girl using zinc sunscreens! Any brand in particular?

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  2. Considering I walk everywhere I wouldn't dare look at the insides. I did get all my moles checked a few weeks ago though, because now that I'm old I am paranoid about the damage I've done in my younger years.

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    1. Good work getting your moles checked out, age does increase your risk of abnormal changes. Did you know the soles of your feet are a damage hotspot, especially if you spent time earlier sunbaking on your belly. I have a few rough patches there I'm keeping track of!

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    2. Yes, the doctor asked to see my soles. I thought she just had a creepy fetish.

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    3. Haha, hopefully you didn't let her lick them or anything...

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  3. it's so sccary that our skin can be so damaged.
    great post :)

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    1. Isn't it crazy! Enough to scare anyone into using sunscreen regularly!

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  4. Oh my! Scary yes, very brave of you!
    I'm glad I have dark skin, I don't think I have much damage. But I was sunburnt the day I landed in Australia, so you never know lol I do secretly wish for fairer skin though :D

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    1. Ah, but that's the thing, Su, it doesn't matter how dark your skin is etc, there's damage underneath that doesn't show on the surface. This damage is what increases wrinkes and pigmentation later on. You better be suncreening-up still!

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  5. This is really cool and scary all at the same time. I would hate to see what my face looks like under the UV light thing... Scary I'm sure. This is just one more reason to stay out of the tanning bed for me, great post!
    -Ash
    Beauty Flawed

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    1. Make sure you wear sunscreen outside too, Ash, it's not just tanning beds that do the damage!

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  6. Ahhh, this scares me to find out what I would look like under a light like that. Geez. Love your blog, just followed you!

    justinerawrmakeup.blogspot.com

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    1. It's terrifing!!
      Thanks for the follow *moseys over to look at your blog too ;)*

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  7. such an interesting post. I'd also be scared to see what mine looked like.

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    1. It's such a wake-up call, but you should do it if you ever get the chance.

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  8. Ah, this makes being bugged by my family for always using sunscreen so worth it. I definitely wear sunscreen daily, though I always forget my hands. Thanks for the tip about physical sunscreen too, I'll make sure to use one for when I run and bike outside since the one I use day to day is a chemical one.

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    1. Ah, you have a smart family! I'm the sunscreen nag in mine. Hands are especially important - think of how much sun they get driving etc, they are always exposed. There are a few good hand creams with SPF around though!

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  9. I hate these UV mag lamps. We used in them in college when I was studying beauty therapy and I tried to avoid getting mine done for ages haha. Not too bad, had damage on my nose because I have oily skin and the sunscreen comes off more easily there and I wasn't reapplying enough. As a fellow whitey I can totally relate to tan envy but I have learnt to live with it too lol I just think of Marilyn Monroe and try not to think of ALL the Victoria's Secret Angels -_-

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    1. Ah, poor oily skin girls can't win. Have you started using an SPF finishing powder? They seem to do the job for ladies with the same problem as you.
      I'm so fricking pale, but hey, I stand out in a sea of tan right? And they love me in Japan ;)

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    2. Hehe! I will have to look into the finishing powder, I've never used anything like it before. Thanks hon! :-)

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  10. It's kind of funny how they have to expose your skin to UV light to see the UV damage... they really need to invent another way! I'm definitely downloading that app for my moley-ass boyfriend, his moles are ridiculous-looking and he's in serious denial...

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    1. It's pretty silly-sounding, isn't it! Urgh, boys are so annoying when it comes to looking after their health. Now I just bring my boyfriend in with me when I get my annual skin once-over under the guise of giving me a lft to the Dr's office ;)

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