Fat to Fit at 59

My quest to lose 50 pounds in 150 days. (Now that you know about it, I'm committed.)

Day 48—Spotting Age January 2, 2010

Our sun exposure before age 20 pretty much determines what our skin will look like in our 50s and beyond.

When I was a teen-ager, my childhood best friend Pam’s mother used to tell me I should be a hand model. I admit I was blessed with beautiful hands: smooth and blemish-free with long, rock-hard nails that never chipped or split.

I maintain that my mom’s genes are behind my (relatively, for my age) minimally wrinkled and non-age-revealing skin. (Thanks, Mom!)

But these days and despite my good genes, my hands reflect my decades of sun worship. Even at my age, I still relish a nap in the searing sun, slathered with suntan oil. (Aahhhhh…wake me when the street lights come on!)

The good thing is that age spots (also called liver spots or solar lentigo), don’t itch or hurt, and may fade with time. They’re caused, like scars, as a response to skin injury: sun exposure or thin skin. The spots consist of skin pigment that gathers to the injury site as the body’s natural protection system, and the pigment may disperse after a period of time, just like a scab decomposes and flakes off as a cut heals.

The bad thing is, if we’re damaging our skin and our genes predispose us to it, we can develop skin cancer in response to the damage we inflict on our skin.

So it’s probably a good idea to play it safe and use that sunscreen whenever we’ll be exposed to the sun for extended periods. And if you’re concerned about a particular age spot or mole on your skin, have your doctor check it out.

Here’s an easy-to-remember formula of signs that you should pay attention to: the A, B, C, D & Es of melanoma:

  • Asymmetry
  • Border irregularities
  • Colors or shades of skin that are different within the same mole
  • Diameter greater than 6 millimeters (larger than a pencil eraser)
  • Enlargement

Also look for bleeding, crusting or numbness in this skin area.

It’s time I start acting my age and being kinder to my skin.  😉  How skin-friendly are you?


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