Sun Exposure and Skin Cancer

We often associate a glowing complexion with good health, but skin color obtained from being in the sun – or in a tanning booth – actually accelerates the effects of aging and increases your risk for developing skin cancer.

Exposure to sun causes most of the wrinkles and age spots on our faces. Consider this: A woman at age 40 who has protected her skin from the sun actually has the skin of a 30-year-old.

Sun exposure causes most of the skin changes that we think of as a normal part of aging. Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibers in the skin called elastin. When these fibers breakdown, the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching. The skin also bruises and tears more easily – taking longer to heal. So while sun damage to the skin may not be apparent when you’re young, it will definitely show later in life.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and involves abnormal growths of skin cells that can form anywhere on the body, but most frequently appear on skin that is exposed to the sun. According to the American Cancer Society most of the more than 1 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed yearly in the United States are considered to be sun-related.

Tanning Beds: WHO Issues Official Warning

In July, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a working group of the World Health Organization, added ultraviolet (UV) radiation – emitting tanning devices – tanning beds and lamps – to the list of the most dangerous forms of cancer causing radiation.

The IARC report cited research showing that tanning is especially hazardous to young people; those who use sun beds before age 30 increase their lifetime risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75%. The authors also pointed to studies showing a link between UV radiation from indoor tanning devices and melanomas of the skin and eyes.


  • A new, possibly large, irregularly shaped, dark brownish spot with darker or black areas.
  • A simple mole that changes in color (particularly turning darker), size (growing), or texture (becoming firmer), and/or flakes or bleeds.
  • A suspicious change in an existing mole or spot.
  • A lesion with an irregular border and red, white, blue, gray, or bluish-black areas or spots.
  • Dark lesions under the fingernails or toenails, on the palms, soles, tips of fingers and toes, or on mucous membranes (skin that lines the mouth, nose, vagina, and anus).


  • Shiny, firm, dome-shaped bumps anywhere on the body.
  • An open sore that bleeds, oozes, or crusts and remains open for a few weeks only to heal up and then bleed again.
  • A reddish patch or irritated area, frequently occurring on the face, chest, shoulders, arms or legs.
  • A shiny bump or nodule that is pearly or translucent and is often pink, red or white.
  • A pink growth with a slightly elevated rolled border and a crusted indentation in the center.
  • A scar-like area which is white, yellow or waxy, and often has poorly defined borders.

Fortunately, the cure rate for skin cancer is almost 100% if found and treated early. If you notice a new growth on your skin or any changes in an existing skin growth, don’t assume it’s nothing to worry about. You can get your skin evaluated by Dr. Van Raalte at Iowa Plastic Surgery. He can accurately diagnose malignant (cancerous) tumors and remove them right in the office.

At Iowa Plastic Surgery, Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetics® is our premier make-up line. We are delighted to inform you that these products are now recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation.

Jane Iredale® is pleased to announce five products that have recently been awarded the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of recommendation as effective UV sunscreen. The five products are:

  1. Jane Iredale® Amazing Base Loose Mineral Powders (Special orders taken)
  2. Jane Iredale® Dream Tint
  3. Jane Iredale® Lip Drink SPF 15
  4. Jane Iredale® Powder-Me SPF
  5. Jane Iredale® PurePressed Face


Make sure sunscreen is part of your daily makeup regimen. At Iowa Plastic Surgery we carry Anthelios SX Daily Moisturizing Cream SPF15 and Anthelios SPF40 Sunscreen Cream from the La Roche-Posay line and TNS Ultimate Daily Moisturizer + SPF20 from the SkinMedica® line.





Clarisonic® PRO gently removes embedded dirt and oil, resulting in healthier, more beautiful skin. It cleanses so well that products absorb better, pores appear smaller, fine lines and wrinkles appear reduced, and your skin’s tone and texture improves. As a user of this product for the last 4 years… I just can’t imagine not having this as part of my cleansing regimen. What is so special about this brush on the Clarisonic® is that it cleanses your face gently and does not scrub! We have been using the Clarisonic® in our Medi Spa for over 5 years and keep getting asked by our clients if they can buy the Clarisonic® from us.

What a great gift for Mom or the graduate/college bound student!