Toothpaste And Skin Cancer

Who would think that toothpaste would have anything to do with sunscreen? But if you want a good tip, here’s what Dr. Ally-Khan B. Somani, a dermatologist with IU Health University Hospital tells his patients: “When you go to the store to buy toothpaste, also buy a bottle of sunscreen. If your toothpaste runs out quicker than your sunscreen, then you aren’t applying enough sunscreen.”

Here’s an alarming fact: At least 50 percent of Caucasians will have at least one non-melanoma skin cancer by age 65. That rate continues to increase with age. The reason? Our immune system is not as robust as it was in youth, said Somani.

“So start early and often with protecting your skin,” said Somani who specializes in Mohs surgery, a micrographic procedure to remove skin cancer, layer by layer. He has already seen about 500 cases since January and says he will see about 1,000 by the end of the year. 

He offers a few tips for protecting our skin from the sun’s harsh rays that cause skin cancer:

  • Think you need Vitamin D? A trip to the mailbox provides about all the Vitamin D you need.
  • Don’t settle for a single layer of sunscreen. Apply multiple coats at the same time. Look for SPF 30 or higher, broad-spectrum coverage and water resistant brands.
  • Consider investing in sun-protective clothing.
  • More sunburn on the right or left side of the face? The left. Why? Because the dangerous sun rays can even make their way through the driver’s side window of your vehicle.
  • Cover up – wear a hat and sunglasses.

- T.J. Banes


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