What You Need to Know about Skin Cancer

As July comes to a close, folks around Johnson City are taking advantage of the last few weeks of summer. Everyone enjoys days spent by the pool or lake, outdoor adventures, and last-minute trips to the beach. And playing in the sun is a great way to boost your vitamin D and have fun with the people you love. But exposure to UV rays also increases your risk of skin cancer. Do you know the signs of melanoma? Early detection through self-examination is the key to catching skin cancer while it’s still curable.

Melanoma Protection

You don’t have to stay indoors to protect yourself from skin cancer. Follow these tips from the Skin Cancer Foundation to reduce your risk of melanoma.

  • woman wearing sunscreenWear SPF of 15 or higher anytime you go outside
  • Use broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays
  • Don’t let your skin burn
  • Never tan or visit tanning beds
  • Apply 1 ounce of sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outside
  • Cover up with protective clothing and sunglasses
  • Sit in the shade during the hottest part of the day
  • Do a self-exam monthly and schedule an annual skin exam with a physician

How to Detect Melanoma

Atypical moles are the primary sign of melanoma. When performing your self-exam, look for:

  • Asymmetrical moles
  • Moles with an uneven border or scalloped edges
  • Multiple colors in the same mole
  • Moles the size of a pencil eraser or larger
  • Moles that change shape, size, or color

Protect your skin this summer. If you find a mole that matches the warning signs of melanoma, make an appointment with a physician. For more information about detecting and treating skin cancer, call Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Sunscreen

Is Bigger Always Better?

Breast implants are a personal choice. The opinions of the people around you shouldn’t affect which implant you choose. In the end, it’s your body, and your satisfaction is what matters. But we live in a world that glorifies unachievable beauty standards for women. It’s hard to turn a corner without overly slim, stuffed, and photoshopped women staring at you from billboards, storefronts, and websites. So how can you achieve a breast that’s full and natural without falling prey to the “bigger is always better” mentality of the media?

How Big Is Too Big?

Many people find full breasts attractive, whether they’re observing someone else or looking in a mirror. But there’s a point when large breasts cross the line into top heavy. Too large breasts can make a woman’s chest wall look broader, which tricks the eye, making a woman look heavier than she is. Using an implant that’s too large can stretch the skin, make the breasts look fake, and even cause back and neck pain down the road. But with clothing cuts, photoshopped models, and the unsolicited opinions of family and friends all calling for attention, how can a woman find the ideal breast size?

How to Find the Right Size Implant

  • woman measuring bustThere is no one size fits all. Every woman has a different shape, different measurements, and a different way she carries her body weight. So it’s impossible to say that no woman should exceed, say, 350cc implants. At your breast augmentation consultation, Dr. Brantner will measure your chest wall and existing breast tissue. He will ask you questions about your lifestyle, how your body responds to diet and exercise, and your desired breast size. If you have concerns about how or where you gain/lose weight, mention them to Dr. Brantner when discussing the best breast size for your body. With decades of experience in helping patients choose their ideal breast size, Dr. Brantner has an artist’s eye for balanced body proportions and a surgeon’s knowledge of complications certain implant choices may cause. Consider his recommendations carefully. If he feels your choice of implant may have negative consequences to your health or appearance, he may advise you to find another surgeon.
  • Your lifestyle affects your implant choice. You may think that because you have a similar weight and body shape to a friend, you’ll need the same size implants. But a variety of factors affect which implant size is right for you. Your body type is one factor, but so is your level of physical activity, your job, and what you hope to get out of the surgery. A bodybuilder, for example, may choose smaller breast implants placed under her pectoral muscles, while a freelance consultant wouldn’t need to worry about how her implants may affect on her career.
  • What’s a good guideline when choosing breast size? Shorter women with narrower chest walls should steer toward smaller implants. Taller women with broad chests sometimes need larger implants to balance the proportions of their bodies. Women who are active should consider smaller implants, since larger breasts can become cumbersome during frequent, intense physical activity.

Want to know what a breast augmentation would look like for you? Call Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery to schedule a consultation.

Bust Size

Time to Ditch the Razor

Summer makes everyone uncomfortably aware of their own body hair. If you have European “let it grow” sensibilities, the thought of an overgrown bikini line or dark hair on your face might not bother you. But many men and women dislike the process of shaving, shaving, shaving to get rid of unwanted body hair. Laser hair removal targets the hair follicle to reduce or eliminate unwanted body hair. After a few treatments, many patients can stop shaving, waxing, or plucking for good.

Are You a Good Candidate for Laser Hair Removal?

woman jumpingSome people see laser hair removal as a quick, permanent fix to unwanted body hair. And it’s true that in most cases, laser hair removal permanently reduces unwanted hair. Hair that grows back will be lighter, thinner, and overall less noticeable (if it grows back at all). But laser hair removal treatments require forethought and planning. It takes time, especially when covering large areas like the legs. Even smaller surfaces like the armpits or bikini line requires multiple treatments. Determine if you’re a good candidate for laser hair removal by answering these questions:

  • Do I dark, thick, or otherwise unwanted body hair?
  • Is that hair in a treatable area (back, chest, bikini area, neck, face, etc)?
  • Do I have the budget for laser hair removal, which is not covered by insurance?
  • Have I spoken to my physician about whether laser hair removal is right for me?

How to Prepare for Your Appointment

  1. Protect your skin. Skin irritation is laser hair removal’s worst enemy, so make sure you don’t wax, get sunburned, or otherwise irritate your skin before a laser hair removal treatment.
  2. Stay out of the sun. Not only is skin irritation detrimental to your treatment, lighter skin makes it easier it is to target hair follicles.
  3. Keep it clean. Stay away from sunless tanner, as well as everyday products like deodorant and perfume. Keep the area clean before your appointment.
  4. Shave, don’t wax or pluck. Laser hair removal targets the pigment in the hair follicle. This requires a smooth surface (so shave before you come), but also requires the hair to be present beneath the skin. If you wax or pluck in the weeks before laser hair removal, you’ll have to reschedule your appointment.
  5. Be consistent. Most people require 2-6 laser hair removal treatments. If you skip treatments or ignore your doctor’s recommended schedule, your treatments will become less effective.
  6. Sooth your skin. The treated area may be irritated for a few days. A cool compress will reduce any redness or swelling. Stay out of the sun and use only fragrance-free soaps and lotions.

To learn more about laser hair removal, schedule an appointment with Dr. Brantner.

Woman Jumping

Are You Protecting Your Skin?

With the 4th of July only a few days away, your family probably has plans to spend the weekend basking under the summer sun. Cookouts, pool parties, and fireworks displays are on everyone’s holiday to-do lists. We fully support those plans, but we have a new #1 for you: skin protection.

How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun

Whether your goal is to protect your family from melanoma or keep your skin healthy and glowing, we know you’ve heard the #1 rule of skin care: use sunscreen. But it’s not enough to simply slather on last year’s leftovers. Are you doing enough to protect your skin?

  • woman in sun hatAfter 3 years, most sunscreens begin to lose their potency. If you’re not sure when you bought the bottle, check for an expiration date.
  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you leave the house. Not only does this give UV protection enough time to sink in before sun exposure, you’re also less likely to miss spots at home.
  • Read the bottle. You may think that reapplying once is enough, but you can’t always see sun damage on your skin. It’s always better to follow the instructions on how often to reapply.
  • Towel off before reapplying sunscreen. If you’re at the beach, brush off any sand prior to breaking out that bottle of SPF 30.
  • Does sunscreen make your face breakout (or worse, burn)? Buy a sunscreen specially formulated for the face, which is more sensitive than other parts of your body.
  • Make sure your lip balm has sunscreen.
  • Layer up. Hats, cover ups, and sunglasses provide added protection against UV rays.
  • Soothe your skin when you get home. Cleaning and moisturizing after sun exposure rehydrates your skin, helping it remain elastic and smooth.
  • Keep an eye out for melanoma. Cancerous spots on your skin may look irregular in shape or color or may change over time.

Sun damage causes a multitude of skin problems, from premature aging to skin cancer. To treat sun damaged skin, call Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Sun Hat