LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – As we start to spend more time outdoors, it’s a good reminder to protect your skin. The damage you do in your adolescent years could show up down the road.
For skin cancer patient John Roberts, he says it’s never too late.
“It’s just common sense. Everybody ought to do it,” he says.
After getting a liver transplant eight years ago, John developed skin cancer as a result of the medication.
It’s gone now, but during a later visit, Dr. Hayden Franks found precancerous cells on John’s scalp and upper chest.
Dr. Franks uses liquid nitrogen to treat these spots to prevent skin cancer.
In addition to medication, John thinks too much UV exposure contributed to his precancerous cells.
“It’s not so much what’s happening right now, but how you abused your skin when you were young, because when we were 16 years old, we were all gonna live forever and not have any problems,” he continues.
Dr. Franks says people need to be mindful about protecting their skin during their pre-teen and teenage years.
“The skin has memory, so the sunburn we receive at an early age may not manifest themselves as skin cancer or precancerous lesions until later in life,” he explains.
That could be 40, 50 or 60 years down the road. To help enforce skin protection, you’ll find more sunscreen in lip balms, lotions, gel and even makeup.
“Once a month, look your skin over. Look for lesions that are changing, moles that look different and sores that don’t heal,” Dr. Franks advises.
If John had to do it all over again, he says “I don’t think I’d spend so much time by the swimming pool or on the beach or things like that without something to guard my skin.”
Whether it’s limiting exposure to UV rays or using sunscreen, hats and clothing, it can benefit you in the long run.
A new study from the University of Minnesota Medical School found some mistakes people make when applying sunblock. Just a third applied sunscreen to all exposed skin. Also, people didn’t use as much on cloudy days.