If you've been diagnosed with skin cancer and have had it surgically removed or are planning to have it surgically removed, you should know that you need to protect your skin. While UV radiation can be dangerous no matter what, it's particularly dangerous following your surgery. Read on to learn what risks exposure to UV radiation can pose for your skin and your healing surgical incision.
Increased Risk of Infection
Science has revealed that excessive exposure to UV radiation can actually have a negative effect on your immune system. When it comes to a wound that's healing, this means that your body could have a lowered defense to external bacteria and viruses. By exposing yourself to UV radiation, you could be increasing your risk of developing an infection following your surgery. This could lead to pain, complications, and potentially even cause your surgeons to have to perform surgery again to remove damaged or infected tissue.
Although your first interest in having surgery is probably just getting rid of the cancer, you may want to avoid an unsightly scar, too. Exposure to the sun while a wound is healing can cause your wound to develop a brown, highly visible scar.
This problem is called hyperpigmentation and it develops because your body is sending more melanin than usual to the site in an attempt to protect it from the sun's rays. However, unlike most tans, the melanin won't disappear after a few days of sheltering yourself from the sun. Since the tissue is damaged and needs more protection, the body will maintain a higher level of melanin there, which can cause scars to be darker and far more noticeable than if you avoided UV radiation entirely.
Skin Cancer Recurrence
Lastly, keep in mind that removing a skin cancer isn't necessarily permanent. Skin cancer, like all cancers, can come back, and avoiding UV radiation is one way of preventing that from happening. UV radiation exposure causes tissue damage to the upper and deeper layers of your skin, which makes you more likely to suffer skin cancer as a result. In order to improve your chances of never having to deal with skin cancer again, you should make sure to always protect your skin going forward.
Protecting your skin from the sun is simple: cover it, use SPF sunblock, and avoid being out in the sunlight during the brightest parts of the day. You don't have to hide from the sun for the rest of your life, but take steps to help your skin to resist UV radiation damage.
Contact your local dermatologist or treatment center, such as Gateway Dermatology PC, right away.