A Word to the Wise...About Your Skin, That Is

Last updated: November 2022

Advice comes in all forms and can sometimes come at you from all sides. There are words of wisdom you find especially beneficial and, occasionally, life-changing. Once in a while, you may have someone offer up guidance that leads nowhere fast–you know the suggestions I’m talking about. Knowing whose advice to take makes a big difference, especially when it comes to health and well-being. Some of the best advice I have ever received relates to my health and comes from people who have been there and done that.

I am going to pass along some of the best guidance I have received from friends and family over the years regarding skin care and the prevention of skin cancer.

Treat your neck the same way you treat your face

This is something I never considered in my teens and 20s, but it makes so much sense now that it’s too late. Hindsight really is 20/20. I spent many years moisturizing my face and entirely too much time and money searching for products to ward off wrinkles around my face and mouth, but I neglected to care for my neck the same way. This advice goes double for sunscreen. Applying sunscreen to your neck is just as important as applying it to your face. Exposed skin is exposed skin, and the neck should never be overlooked.

Wear a hat in the sun

Admittedly, this is one piece of advice to which I have not always adhered. I didn’t grow up wearing hats or caps, and it’s been difficult to make myself do so regularly. I have to say though, this is a fantastic suggestion that truly protects your face and, depending on the brim, your neck. Vacationing at amusement parks completely changed for me once I added a cap to my list of protective gear. I didn’t realize exactly how much sun exposure I was getting when I pulled my hair back into a ponytail and only relied on sunscreen to protect my face. Caps make a huge difference and go a long way in helping prevent premature aging and sun damage. 

When in doubt, get it checked out

This is, without a doubt, the most beneficial bit of wisdom I have ever been handed. If you have a lesion, mole, or spot that concerns you, get it checked by a dermatologist. I am what I consider to be a “spotty” person. I have countless bumps and uneven areas on my skin. Some are dark moles, others are angiomas, and many are just rough raised patches. When I am in doubt about a spot, I mention it to my dermatologist at my regular checkups or I make an appointment between visits. It’s simply safer to err on the side of caution. I learned that lesson the hard way when I was advised by my best friend to have a mole checked–it was melanoma.

Weed through the advice you receive carefully, folks. Some of it will be worthwhile and some of it you can invite to pass through one ear and gleefully out the other. When it comes to your skin health, pay attention to those who have lived through skin cancer. Heed their advice–they have walked the walk, and their words hold a lot of weight.

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