Posts Tagged ‘skin cancer’

Skin Cancer Check List-’s Dr. Magovern Sheds Light on Skin Cancer Prevention

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

As summer approaches, so do the days of sun, sand, outdoor bbqs, lazy afternoons in the park, and tank tops. Unfortunately, along with the warmer months comes the risk of sun damage and subsequently skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with more than 2 million cases diagnosed annually. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.

I spoke to board certified dermatologist Dr. Ashley Magovern,’s Medical Director and founder of Manhattan Dermatology, who told me that skin cancer prevention is simple. “Skin cancer is not only the most common form of cancer, it’s one of the most preventable,” she says.  “We need to educate the public on taking proper preventative measures to minimize their risk.”

Below are a few steps recommended by Dr. Magovern to make sure you do not become a skin cancer statistic (follow Dr. Magovern on Facebook for more useful skin care tips!):

  • “Daily use of a sunscreen with SPF 15 is ok for the person who is truly indoors all day and does not get sun exposure. But, for most of us who have sunny commutes and like to enjoy some outdoor time during the workday, I recommend people to find at least a SPF 30 that they can use every day,” she stated. “Formulations are so good these days, it is hard not to find an elegant cream or lotion that moisturizes, protects and can be worn under makeup. If you are out all day on the weekends, bump it up and reapply often. Don’t forget the neck and chest!”

Dr. Magovern recommends La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-in Sunscreen Lotion. “My patients love this broad spectrum sunscreen and so do I,” she stated. “It not only protects you from the sun’s rays, but helps reverse and prevent further sun damage and photoaging.”

  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths. “In addition to causing premature aging, tanning beds are proven to cause cancer,” she confirmed. “What worries me the most is that indoor tanners are putting themselves at risk for developing malignant melanoma, which can be fatal. Those that use indoor tanning machines are increasing their risk by about 75% versus those that do not use them. The Skin Cancer Foundation launched a wonderful campaign that I hope everyone can adopt. It’s called Go With Your Own Glow and it encourages people to embrace their natural skin tone.”
  • Schedule a yearly skin exam with your physician and perform at home exams on a monthly basis. “It’s important that you have a physician examine your skin once a year,” Dr. Magovern says. “You should take special note of moles and birthmarks and see a doctor if they change color, increase in size or appear irregular in shape. I also tell my patients that if you have a gut feeling about a particular lesion, it’s best to make an appointment.”

Think Pink with

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Indulge in some retail charity. This October, will launch a Breast Cancer Awareness Boutique, which will feature specialty breast cancer awareness products from beauty brands such as Becca Cosmetics, Decleor, Colorescience, SpaRitual, gloMinerals, jane iredale, Sonya Dakar and Alterna, among many others. This one stop shop is the premier destination for getting gorgeous and giving back. All the products sold in the boutique will contribute a portion of their proceeds to various breast cancer charities (iS Clinical is donating 100% of the Poly-Vitamin Serum to the National Breast Cancer Coalition!) . In addition to the donations made from the individual brands, will donate 5% of the proceeds from each unit sold in the boutique to CEW Foundation’s Cancer and Careers program, whose mission is to educate and empower people with cancer to thrive in their workplace by providing expert advice, interactive tools and educational events.

With over 25 brands and almost 50 products to choose from, this online boutique is not only a fantastic destination for limited edition Breast Cancer Awareness products but also a unique concept from, as it allows for additional funds to support this well deserving cause.  In 2009, there were over 190,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in American women. With each passing year, science makes life-saving advancements and brings new hope to everyone affected by this disease. With the aid of charitable donations, much like’s and its participating brands’, we are a step closer to a cure.

One shop, one purchase, two donations, thousands of lives affected.

Sunburn Remedies

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
Severe Sunburn

Flickr user shelleylyn

We are constantly talking about the importance of wearing sunblock on a daily basis to protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays that can cause skin cancer, premature aging, and sunburn. We figured we should also share some sunburn remedies with you as well, just in case. After all, sunburn can happen to the best of us. With summer upon us, it becomes even more important to wear sunscreen as we spend more time outdoors and our sun exposure increases.

I am one of those obsessive sunscreen wearers – rain or shine – I wear an SPF on my face every day. I know that this will keep my skin looking younger and will help prevent skin cancer. And yet, even the most compulsive sunblock users can slip up every now and then. Even me. I work in the beauty industry, I have several types of sunscreen at my disposal at all times, and I still got a terrible sunburn recently. I met someone for lunch and we wound up eating outside, and it happened to be on a day when I, for some reason, didn’t follow my daily sunscreen routine. After being outside for an hour or so, my face and ears were bright red by the end of the day. I immediately sought a sunburn remedy to ease the pain and discomfort, and to sooth my aching skin.

There are many different sunburn treatments – many of which you may have in your kitchen.

Iced Tea = Sunburn Remedy

Iced Tea is a great sunburn remedy and takes out the sunburn sting. Flickr user stevendepolo.


Iced black tea immediately takes away that awful sunburn sting. Make some unsweetened black iced tea, soak cotton pads in the tea and gently pat your burnt skin. For extreme cases where you have large areas to cover, you can stand in the shower and pour the iced tea over yourself. You can also pour the tea into a spray bottle and mist yourself.


Yogurt is another great sunburn remedy. Coat your skin in a layer of plain yogurt – the lactic acid will cool and hydrate your skin. This can get a bit messy, so you may reserve this treatment for your face and wear it like a mask, or apply to severely burnt areas that need a little extra TLC. Rince with cool water after a few minutes.


If you can handle the smell, vinegar will also take away the sting. You must soak yourself in it to really achieve results, and you’ll have to reapply often. This can be a last resort if the tea or yogurt don’t do the trick.

Aloe Vera – a common sunburn treatment.

Aloe Vera – a common sunburn treatment. Flicr user ruurmo.


Aloe Vera is known to be a great topical treatment for sunburn. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have an aloe plant growing in our back yards. If you are one of the lucky few, just break off a leaf from the plant and squeeze the clear liquid directly on to the affected area. There are also many aloe products on the market that you can purchase. Just make sure it’s mostly aloe, and not just a little bit mixed in with some other ingredients. Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract should be the first ingredient listed.


The Amarte Aqua Veil was my go to treatment as soon as I realized what I had allowed to happen. The cucumber is soothing, but this miracle product also gives a great amount of hydration to the skin – and let’s face it, sunburn dehydrates your skin like nothing else. You should think beyond pain relief and think about treating your skin to a little extra moisture too.

What’s your favorite sunburn treatment?

Getting The Perfect Tan Using Self Tanner

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Summer is approaching and in America, that means it’s time to be tan. After our warnings of how harmful the sun can be, the best and safest way to get a tan is by using self tanner. Some may be a little hesitant to use a self tanner because of many concerns like streaking, blotching, getting orange instead of bronze or just plain looking like Carrot Top. Worry no more, by taking precautions and prepping your skin, you can be on your way to the perfect fake tan without the UV exposure. These simple steps will help your self tanning lotions last longer, make application easier and look more natural when you’re done.

Step one: Exfoliate your skin before applying self tanner. This is extremely important before applying self tanning lotion. The key is to get as much of the dead, dull skin cells off your body using a gentle scrub. This makes your skin a refreshed, even canvas before application as well as reduce the chance of the lotion coming off unevenly and it’ll make the sunless tanner last longer. By using a body scrub, I can guarantee that your skin will be glowing and look healthier overall. You can use a body scrub in the shower minutes before applying self tanner. Apply liberally and massage gently in a circular motion for best results. I recommend using a salt or sugar scrub to avoid any harsh chemicals. My two favorites to use are: Eucalyptus Sea Salt Scrub by Sonoma Lavender and Korres Grape Seeds Body Scrub.

Sunless tan

Source: Flickr User Vincent Boiteau

Step two: Find a self tanning lotion that is moisturizing and suitable for your skin. This will help with easy application and will nourish your skin instead of harming it. Choosing a self tanner that is vitamin enriched or derived from more natural sources will look more natural and sink into your skin better. Remember: chemicals will react with other chemicals and ingredients. You don’t want to put on a self tanner, then jump into the pool and have the chlorine trigger a chemical reaction with the ingredients in your sunless tan. Natural ingredients work just as well if not better than chemical filled cosmetics and it’s better for your health. My picks in this category are Tarte Cosmetics Sunburst Body Lotion with Self-Tanner and Mystic Tan’s Sunless Tanning Lotion. Tarte’s self tanner isn’t for longevity and it’s for someone that wants some color for about a day or two. I love this formula because it’s enriched with vitamin E and C and is moisturizing, and deeply nourishing while providing a gorgeous bronze color. Plus, it’s fun to put on with the tiny sunbursts! Mystic Tan’s sunless tanning lotion goes on like silk and gives a perfect natural looking tan that lasts. You can decide how dark you want to go and its choc-full of antioxidants, hydrators and nourishing botanicals.

Step three: Take your time! I can’t stress enough to you that you absolutely have to take your time when applying self tanners! If you rush through the process or rush through application and drying, you can leave streaks, blotches and ensure that you’re new fake tan will look FAKE. Start with clean, exfoliated skin, apply liberally and give enough time to let the lotion or cream dry. If you need an extra hand, ask a friend or your significant other to help you get the hard to reach areas. Sunless tanning lotions are easier to apply and cover your entire body to get that streak free “I just went to cabo” tan. Using gloves will also help you not to get “tan hands.” If not, be sure to wash your hands right after application. If not, the tanning lotion can turn the inside of your hands a nasty color, therefore your fake tan will be a secret no more.

Skin care with sun care is the way to go. If you’re ever in doubt, you can always test out what that self tanning lotion will look like exactly on your skin beforehand on a body part that can be easily hidden. There are tons of products out there like sunless tanning wipes and sprays along with a variety of options. If you know you aren’t good with products that spray, use your best judgment and opt for something else. Being comfortable is important at the same time as finding what works best for you. Most of all, when you’re all done, enjoy your hard work and your beachy looking skin. Looks good on you doesn’t it?


Monday, May 17th, 2010

By Dr. Jody Levine


Substantially more than 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year, more than any other form of cancer. 1 in 5 Americans will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime.  Skin cancer can be divided into two groups – nonmelanoma skin cancer and melanoma.  The majority of diagnosed skin cancers are nonmelanoma skin cancer of which 80% of these are basal cell carcinoma and about 20% squamous cell carcinoma.

Dangers of tanning: tanning can cause skin cancer. Photo by ~ggvic~


Exposure to ultraviolet light, from the sun and indoor tanning devices is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.  It’s never too late to protect yourself and minimize your future risk of skin cancer. Early detection is also crucial as skin cancer can be treated if found early.  Melanoma has a 99% five year survival rate if detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes. Both basal cell and squamous cell have cure rates approaching 95% if detected early and treated promptly.


Basal cell carcinoma frequently appears as a pearly bump, whereas squamous cell carcinoma often looks like a rough, red scaly area or an ulcerated bump that bleeds.  Any new growth that does not go away in a month’s time or that is bleeding, growing or changing should prompt you to see a dermatologist.  Melanoma can develop from or near an existing mole or can suddenly appear without warning.   New, rapidly growing moles, or moles that itch, bleed, change color or other surface characteristics are often early warning signs of melanoma and warrant prompt attention.


A biopsy is performed to confirm the diagnosis.  A very superficial basal cell, for example, can sometimes be treating by scraping and burning the lesion, to destroy the cancer cells. However, the general treatment for skin cancer is to excise the lesion.  This is an in-office procedure using local numbing medicine.  Depending on the method used to cut out the skin cancer, stitches will likely be placed and then removed anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks later (depending on the part of the body where it was located).  For a localized, nonmelanoma skin cancer, there is generally no further treatment needed, except a reminder to be cautious with prevention using sun protection and early detection with routine visits to the dermatologist.  Further treatment of melanoma is dependent on the depth of the melanoma and other factors involved.

Dermatologist Dr. Jody Levine


Dr. Jody Levine is an esteemed member of the Beautyfix Panel of experts and a highly respected dermatologist. Dr. Levine is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, the Women’s Dermatologic Society, the Society for Pediatric Dermatology and the American Medical Association. Based in Manhattan, Dr. Levine is the co-founder and co-director of Plastic Surgery & Dermatology of NYC, PLLC, a comprehensive facility in Manhattan offering a full range of integrated skincare for the whole family.  Dr. Levine practices medical and surgical dermatology, specializing in cosmetic and laser surgery for pediatric and adult patients.

Dr. Levine received her M.D. from the Yale University School of Medicine, graduating with honors, and has been named one of “America’s Top Dermatologists of 2009” by the Consumer’s Research Council of America. She has published scholarly papers in prestigious journals including Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology and Journal of the American Medical Association.  In addition, she is on the medical advisory board of Parents magazine and is often featured in national beauty magazines, web pages, newspapers, radio shows and television programs.  She has been quoted in W Magazine, Elle, Allure, Self, Shape, Marie Claire, New York Magazine and The New York Times.  Dr. Levine has appeared on the Martha Stewart Radio, The Montel Williams Show, Fox News, and ABC News.

Dr. Levine firmly believes in educating all patients, from youth through adulthood, on the dangers of outdoor and indoor tanning.  She stresses the importance of sun safety and appropriate skin care, capturing the beauty of youthful skin and making it available to patients of all ages.

Dr. Jody Levine lives in Manhattan with her husband Dr. Elie Levine, a Plastic Surgeon, and their four children, Skyler, Jasmine, Caitlin and William.

Recognizing Skin Cancer Signs: Know Your ABCDE’s

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Skin cancer is on the rise and it’s nothing to take lightly. Some of us spend a good portion of our lives in the sun and for a lot of people it can have terrible consequences. Sun damaged skin is your road map to telling if something is cancerous or not. Skin cancer generally develops in the epidermis and is usually clearly visible. What this means for you, is that skin cancer symptoms makes it easier to detect in early stages. Taking notice to what’s going on with your skin can tell you a lot about what’s going on with your body internally. If you’re careful and can recognize skin cancer in its early stages, you have a greater chance of not dealing with difficulties in the future. There are 3 common skin cancer types: Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. There are skin cancer signs that can be recognized. The best thing to reference is the ABCDE’s of skin cancer when looking at certain areas of your skin that you think may be cancerous or worth getting checked out.

Basal cell carcinoma is often mistaken as a sore that doesn’t heal and is the least severe of the 3. This can usually be completely eliminated without scarring. This usually looks like a smooth, raised bump on your head, shoulders or neck. Squamous cell carcinoma generally looks like a red, scaly, thickened patch and sometimes hard or dome shaped. If it’s not treated, it can grow bigger and is dangerous. The most dangerous skin cancer is melanoma. Melanomas are commonly brown to black in color although some can be pink, red or fleshy in color. A malignant melanoma is severe and can change in shape, color and size. These need to be checked out by a doctor immediately. Melanoma is most common in people between the ages of 20-39. 85% of it is caused by sun damaged skin and long periods of sun exposure. Malignant melanomas in their later stages can be fatal and treatment can increase the survival rate.

Do your homework and do a mole check. Most moles on your body can look very similar and are benign. Any moles or freckles that are different or larger (in diameter) than a pencil eraser, or have ANY characteristics of melanoma or skin cancer listed below, you should definitely have them checked out by a dermatologist.

A is for Asymmetry. Look at the mole or spot on your skin in question. If you drew a circle around it, cut it in half and folded it, does it match up? Is it asymmetrical? One half should match the other half in shape and form. If the two sides don’t look the same, then consider having it checked out by a dermatologist.

B – Border. Take a look at the border of the mole or spot. If the border is uneven, blurred or ragged, it’s a sign to have it checked out. Many melanomas tend to have uneven borders.

C – Color. Normal moles are usually the same color throughout. If the spot or mole has different colors such as brown, black, red, pink or others in it, it’s a warning sign to get it checked out. If the mole or lesion is changing colors before your eyes, get to the dermatologist.

D – Diameter. Get out a pencil or pen with an eraser on it. If the spot/mole is larger than about 6 millimeters or larger than the eraser, it’s time to go to the doc.

Lastly is E for elevation. If your mole is evolving and growing, or much higher than the last time you noticed it, it’s an indicator that something may be up. Melanomas usually grow rapidly, and if a portion of yours is growing or raised, it’s a skin cancer warning sign.

Melanoma skin cancer

Source: Flickr user mamacal00

Checking your skin once a month for skin cancer symptoms can be a life saver. It’s easy to do and doesn’t take that much time. Skin cancer is commonly found in men on the back and for women, the lower leg. Be sure to check out the hidden areas on your body, like your hands and soles of your feet. If you think you may have a mole that is cancerous, make an appointment with your dermatologist ASAP. If you aren’t sure, do it anyway. Taking a picture of any moles or spots can help you monitor any change going on in sun damaged skin areas. Remember your ABCDE’s and you’ll be in the clear. If you’ve had experiences with skin cancer before, make sure to get checked every year by your doctor. The easiest way to protect yourself is to stay out of the sun, avoid tanning beds and make sure that you’re using an SPF.

I’ve unfortunately had many experiences with skin cancer with myself and my family and it’s painful. What are you experiences with skin cancer?