What are Melanocytes?

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer as, by the time it is usually detected, it has often already spread through other areas of the body and is no longer localised to the skin. The skin has two main layers, the upper layer called the epidermis and the inner layer called the dermis. In the epidermis are the cells called melanocytes that are responsible for production of melanin, the skin’s source of pigment.

Vitiligo is a skin condition where the dysfunction or destruction of melanocytes leaves the skin without colour but other problems can also occur with these pigment-producing cells.

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Rate My Sunscreen – Why the most expensive sunscreen isn’t always the best

best sunscreen consumer reportsIt’s that time of year again, where we frantically rummage in our bathroom cupboards for the sandy, goopy best sunscreen bottle of last summer or go to the store to stock up.

Whether your choice of sunscreen depends on whether it smells nice, goes on easily, is not too greasy, or is cruelty-free, be sure to check out the latest information from Consumer Reports. You might be surprised to see that some top-selling sunscreens simply don’t cut it when it comes to actually protecting your skin from harmful ultraviolet light. Continue reading

Coconut Oil – A Safe, Natural Sunscreen?

coconut oil sunscreenRecent articles have highlighted the horrible irony of chemicals present in sunscreens that cause the skin to become more sensitive to the sun, leading some to wonder if natural sunscreens are, indeed, better for naturally healthy skin.

Take coconut oil, for example. Is it a safe sunscreen? Could you really sidestep all of the problems inherent in choosing a commercially produced sunblock that isn’t full of parabens, phthalates, bisphenol-A, and retinyl palmitate just by greasing yourself up with some basic kitchen staples? Continue reading

What Does SPF Mean? New FDA Regulations Now in Effect for Sunscreens

sunscreen regulations from fdaThe sun is shining, flowers are emerging, and thoughts are turning to spring and summer. If, like me, you tend to plan ahead, you may already be thinking about the location of your sunscreen. Digging out that greasy old bottle of Coppertone may seem enough but it’s important to remember that not all sunscreens are the same.

With this in mind, the FDA’s new regulations for sunscreen marketing are now in effect, after months of delays, governing how manufacturers promote sunscreens, including how they cite SPF. What does this mean for us as savvy consumers wanting naturally healthy skin? Hopefully, it means we get a better quality product that does what it promises. Continue reading

Skin Cancer and Coffee – Reducing the Risk of Basal Cell Carcinoma

coffee cuts skin cancer risk coffee bath
Could bathing in coffee protect against a common form of skin cancer?

More than three cups of coffee a day could cut your risk of basal cell carcinoma according to new research, but the caffeine has little impact on other forms of skin cancer such as melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

The benefit is thought more pronounced in women and appears to be linked to caffeine rather than the coffee itself, according to the authors of a paper published in Cancer Research this week. Should you be bathing in coffee as a way to naturally healthy skin? Continue reading

Skin Cancer Prognosis Affected by Childhood Stress

skin cancer prognosis and childhood stress
Early childhood stress reduces ability to fight skin cancer.

Childhood stress reduces ability to fight skin cancer according to a new study carried out at Ohio State University in Columbus. The scientists looked at nearly a hundred patients with basal cell carcinoma and assessed their experiences of childhood maltreatment, along with any recent stressful events.

They then examined the patients’ immune system responses to their tumors and found that early stress and a recent severe life episode created a ‘perfect storm’ of stress affecting the ability to battle this common form of skin cancer. Whilst basal cell carcinoma is immunogenic, other forms of skin cancer, such as melanoma, are not.

How might this affect approaches to skin cancer treatment? Perhaps patients will be offered counselling in addition to basal cell carcinoma treatment, using stress reduction techniques to achieve naturally healthy skin. Continue reading

MelaFind – Skin Cancer Detection Device (Recalled)

melafind skin cancer diagnosis melanoma
MelaFind – An innovation in skin cancer detection, or expensive gadget?

Skin cancer detection could get a lot easier with the recent FDA approval of MelaFind, a device by Mela Sciences that can help detect early signs of melanoma. This is the most serious of skin cancers, often fatal, and not always noticed in time for treatment to be effective.

Mela Sciences’ device had been waiting for approval by the FDA since June 2009 and the company recently filed a petition to contest the delay when approval came in September 2011.

MelaFind had already been approved in Europe and it is hoped that the company’s innovative product will help identify patients early and help lower the fatalities associated with melanoma. Continue reading