Acne And Skin Cancer
Here’s another reality check. Most of the medicines used when treating acne can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight that can quickly cause sunburn. Over-exposure to the sun can cause premature aging and higher risk to develop skin cancer. So there is a link between acne and skin cancer.
Acne happens when hair follicles become blocked. The blockages cause too much production of sebum mixed with dead skin cells. If the blocked follicle is close to the skin’s surface, it will create a lump we call whiteheads. If the blocked follicle is open to the surface, it is known as a blackhead. At some point, the harmless bacteria on the skin infect the blocked hair follicles resulting in cysts or nodules. Though it is a very common skin problem, most people have a poor understanding about acne and skin cancer. A topic of much recent discussion is that sunbathing, sunlamps and sunbeds can help in reducing the symptoms of the skin problem. The key difference in these findings has highlighted the idea of exposure to light, not necessarily the sun or artificial sun bathing. This brings rise to the subject of a possible correlation between acne and skin cancer, but ironically because of our treatment of it.
What is Skin Cancer?
The abnormal and uncontrollable reproduction of skin cells causes skin cancer. One out of five people will have a skin cancer based on the statistics gathered by American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Those who have a family history of melanoma, pale skin or are more than 40 years old and have routine exposure to the sun, have the higher risk of getting skin cancer. Also, a person who had exposure to radiation to treat skin conditions such as acne has also a greater risk to contract the disease.
Skin cancers differ in appearances. That’s why it is recommended all unusual rashes or skin growths be immediately and thoroughly checked out by a physician. Skin cancer is curable most of the time, especially when there’s early intervention to prevent the disease from spreading.
There are several types of skin cancers:
1. Melanoma – is the most dangerous and aggressive skin cancer where fatality is high. About 5% of patients suffer from this deadly type of skin cancer.
2. Squamous cell carcinoma – composed 10% of skin cancer patients where cells of epidermis’ middle layer are affected
3. Basal cell carcinoma – is the most common type of skin cancer. Around 80-85% of patients have this type. It affects the skin cells found in the lowest layer of the epidermis.
Acne and Skin Cancer
Acne has an indirect effect on one’s risk of getting skin cancer. If a person has acne, it is recommended to take extra care of the affected skin. First, it’s important to avoid getting sunburn or suntan because acne medicine and topical treatments cause the skin to be more susceptible to skin cancer.
When cleaning the face, do so gently. The trauma from breakouts can make the acne worse and cause deeper scars. It is recommended to use your hands instead of a scrubbing material when washing face. You should also use makeups that are non-comedogenic, and you should take off all of it before going to sleep to avoid more blockage of your follicles.