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Archive for June 8th, 2014

The eyelids are one of the most common places for skin cancer and the first place we see the signs of aging. Skin cancer in this area is especially dangerous and hard to detect. Luckily, there are products that can protect the delicate skin around the eye.

The Concerns

The eyelids are very susceptible to skin cancer and the aging effects of UV exposure. About 10% of skin cancers occur on the eyelids, which is kind of shocking when you consider that the face/head accounts for less than 5% of the total body surface area. There are many additional concerning factors regarding skin cancers on the eyelid. There is a significant risk for tissue damage to nearby vital ocular structures and even blindness. Tumors in this area can also spread into the nasal and orbital cavities (the area behind the eye). Let not forget that the skin of the eyelid serves to protect the eye and when that skin has to be removed we are presented with a host of issues such as preventing infection and reconstruction of the eyelid is very difficult. Early detection can be challenging because these tumors tend to grow inward toward the deeper layers of the skin and bone, before they are seen on surface of the skin. The appearance of this type of cancer varies and looks different than other types of skin cancers, making detection even more difficult. Reoccurrence of skin cancer on the eyelid is among the highest. It is important to take measures to prevent skin cancer, and become an established patient of a good dermatologist before you think you need one.

As if cancer was not enough, photo-aging of the eyelid is another concern. Photo-aging is a term used to describe sun damage and premature aging caused by UV exposure. Consider that the skin is a direct reflection of health and that sun damaged skin is not healthy skin. Photo-aging goes beyond vanity, it really is about skin that is not functioning properly or at a healthy state.Sun damaged skin will have lowered immunity against infection and impaired wound healing ability. Furthermore, UV rays age skin cells, damage DNA, break down collagen, elastin and damage pigment producing melanocytes. All of this equals unhealthy skin that is thin, lax (loose), with lines wrinkles and skin discoloration. There are products and treatments that can be done to improve these issues, but it will take time, money, and a little work.

Prevent the damage and reduce risk of cancer

The first line of defense is a broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 30 or more. The eyes and the skin around the eyes are sensitive to chemicals in sunscreen so you should look for a physical sunscreen, meaning the only two active ingredients are Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide. I like Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50 by Skin Ceuticals, it is a non-migrating, high protection sunscreen designed specifically for the upper and lower eyelids. This is a pure physical sunscreen that you apply like and eye cream. The formula is tinted to enhance tone, however it will nor provide coverage like a cosmetic. I like to say it’s tinted for a man. It blends right in and doesn’t settle into fine lines or make your eye area appear dry/cakey. the ceramics in it will nourish the skin, but I still recommend using your usual eye cream first then SPF.

For additional protection I recommend using a topical product with vitamin-C, every morning. While sunscreens absorb or reflect out UV radiation, antioxidants such as vitamin-C neutralize the UV rays. Photoprotective topical antioxidants work by the inhibiting the UV-induced biochemical changes that lead to photoageing and DNA mutations.

Studies show that sunglasses do help protect eyes from UV damage, however some UV light can still get to the eye area, depending on the type and style of sunglasses. Look for sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection and remember that sunglasses do not eliminate the need for sunscreen.

The Eyelids: Highly Susceptible to Skin Cancer / Skin Cancer Foundation
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Read MoreJune 8, 2014 8:15 pm - Posted by Kristy