Joanna Schroeder wants guys to take advantage of the tools at their disposal in helping save their own lives.
Guys, I need to talk to you about your skin.
First and foremost, did you know you guys get more skin cancer than us ladies? It’s true.
Did you know that there are effective ways of minimizing your risk of getting skin cancer, or reducing its mortality rate?
There are tools at your disposal that can help save your life. Will you use them?
As you can see by the graph below, skin cancer IS a men’s issue. Men are dying from melanoma, deaths that may be preventable. If you care about your health, or the well-being of the guys you love, it’s time to take action.
I had the opportunity to chat with a dermatologist who is particularly interested in men’s skin care and cancer prevention, Dr. Michael Shapiro, a board-certified New York Dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon. Below are answers to some of the questions our readers and social media followers had for the doctor, including what to look for if you’re heavily tattooed and when to start seeing a doctor for skin checks.
1. At what age should men start getting regular skin checks from a dermatologist?
Skin cancers tend to appear around/after the age of 50, so it is recommended at this time that men get regular skin checks conducted by a dermatologist. However, it is never too early to start being aware of your body! It is essential to remember to protect the skin from harmful UV rays at an early age, since skin cancer is related to a lifetime of exposure to UV radiation. Also, remember to perform self-checks so that you can be aware of any changes in skin and provide early detection to anything that may be a cause for concern.
2. Are there specific skin issues that the doctor feels men, in particular, need to be aware of?
Men have higher rates of skin cancer than women, so it is important to be aware of any changes in the skin. If something seems different, such as the shape or color of a mole, one should seek an appointment with a dermatologist.
3. For men who have a lot of tattoos: Is there a danger of missing a changing mole or other skin issue because of tattoos? How does the doctor handle skin checks when a person is heavily tattooed?
Tattoos make skin checks a bit more difficult when it comes to examining moles, or other skin tags. Tattoos should not be placed too close to a mole, since it makes it difficult to inspect any changes in that mole. If the mole isn’t visible, early detection of warning signs is difficult and could delay treatment of potentially developing skin cancer. Tattoo ink camouflages moles and can also interfere with instruments used by doctors for inspection.
When a person is heavily tattooed, a doctor handles skin checks by providing tips on how to keep the skin safe while covered in ink. Doctors can also help patients be aware of any signs that may need medical treatment. For example, if a patient notices changes in a tattoo it could be a sign of skin disease, therefore they should seek an appointment with their dermatologist.
4. What do you recommend for daily skin care for men?
Here are some tips for a daily routine of skin care for men. Cleanse the skin to remove dead skin cells by using a wash with glycolic acid both in the morning and at night to make your skin look less dull. Moisturizing is essential after a cleansing of the skin in order to seal in moisture and keep skin smooth. Staying hydrated in important for men’s skin care since it helps keep moisture in the skin.
When it comes to men shaving their face, it is important to thoroughly wet the skin/beard and to shave in the direction that the hairs lie, in order to prevent ingrown hairs. It is also suggested to avoid repeating strokes and to keep the skin relaxed while shaving. Men should also incorporate using sunscreen every day, in order to reduce to aging of skin.
5. Does the doctor have a type of sunscreen he most recommends for his patients, or specifically for men?
For men, a sunscreen should be applied every day, with at least SPF of 15 or higher, that has broad-spectrum protection to block UVA and UVB rays from harming the skin.
6. What is the biggest hurdle doctors face in getting men into the dermatologist?
Men typically do not view the dermatologist in the same way as women. Men are usually not as concerned with aging and will generally only seek help when they have a specific problem. Woman tend to have different goals and expectations when seeing a dermatologist while men are more passive patients who may ask fewer questions. Males also tend to not notice changes in their skin as readily, so they do not have the immediacy to seek medical attention.
Dr. Michael Shapiro, M.D., FAAD, ACMS, is a board-certified New York Dermatologist and a Fellowship-Trained Mohs Skin Cancer Surgeon. He is the medical director of Vanguard Dermatology and an innovator in Mohs-micrographic Surgery, Laser, Aesthetic and Medical Dermatology. Since establishing his practice in 2005, Dr. Shapiro has performed over 10,000 cosmetic and reconstructive Mohs surgeries, as well as pioneered a wide range of aesthetic, laser and hair restoration procedures. He is widely known for providing patients with unmatched knowledge, treatment and care.
Photo: Flickr/David Goehring