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How To Treat Your Dry Skin During Winter

By | Skin | No Comments

How to treat your dry skin during winter

Dry skin during winter is common as the temperature and humidity levels drop. We cover up in layers and probably take less time and effort to properly look after our skin.

Cold weather, harsh winds, dry indoor heating in your home and office can leave it dry, cracked, flakey and scaly.

Here are the best ways to keep your skin hydrated during the cold months of winter:

Avoid hot showers

It’s tempting to have a steaming hot shower in the mornings to warm up, or at the end of the long day to wind down. But did you know this does more damage to your skin than you think? The hot temperatures can rob the skin of its moisture, causing drier, flakey skin.

healthmint treat your dry skin in winter by avoiding hot showers

Exfoliate your skin

The life cycle of your skin is approximately 90 days long, so it’s important to help get those dead skin cells off your body to make way for new, softer skin. Just be careful not to rub too harshly, or you may end up with sore, red skin!

Use a thicker moisturiser

Thicker creams are better than thinner lotions during the winter months. Cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil and products that are high in lactic acid will help keep your skin moisturised for longer. Slather it on immediately after you hop out of your (not too hot) shower or bath.

Check the labels on your skin products

Many products contain alcohol – an ingredient known for drying out the skin. Opt for products free of parabens, sulphites and alcohol. And guys, check your labels too – there are many mens skin products out there that wont dry out your skin.

Use a humidifier

Bring some moisture back into the air you breathe with a humidifier. These are great at counteracting the harsh dry air that circulates throughout your home and office.

Minimise the use of soaps

Soaps contain lots of ingredients that can dry out your skin. Swap your slippery bar of soap for a moisturising shower cream.

Eat lots of skin friendly foods and keep up the H2O

Eat plenty of your favourite warm winter foods like soups, casseroles, and avoid foods high in sodium. Include lots of good fat foods like avocados and nuts, which also help to retain the moisture.

Don’t forget to drink tons of water and limit your intake of coffee, teas and alcohol, which are all diuretics that can cause dehydration.

display of healthy foods diet healthmint

Be aware of skin flare ups

Chronic skin conditions are more likely to flare up during the winter months with more layers of clothes added, and less breathable materials causing friction on your skin and aggravating exisiting skin issues.

Skin conditions can also flare up due to stress and cause redness and itchiness. Try meditating or practicing yoga – it will help your mind and soul, as well as keep you fit during the colder months.

 

yoga lady pose healthmint

Making sure you look after your skin during the cold winter months will help ensure your skin is in tip top condition for the warmer months ahead.

Want more information?

Call (03) 5611 3365 to speak to a friendly patient concierge

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Food and Diet For Symptoms of Depression

By | Chronic Disease, Diabetes, Nutrition | No Comments

Food and diet changes that help with symptoms of depression

As well as aiding in weight loss, food and diet changes can also have a positive impact on the symptoms of depression.

Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health illnesses throughout the world.

A study published in Psychosomatic Medicine showed that those who change their diet may see a greater improvement in the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Foods that put you in a good mood!

Various vitamins, fatty acids, minerals and fibre consumed as part of a healthy diet could also impact the brain and help to improve mood.

The following foods and nutrients may play a role in reducing the symptoms of depression:

  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Seafoods
  • Oily fish
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
display of healthy foods diet healthmint

Ditch the junk food!

While we have established that a healthy diet can help to improve mood, an unhealthy diet can have the opposite affect.

While it’s okay to have the occasional treat or overindulge sometimes, it’s the long term unhealthy diets that contain lots of foods that are very high in energy (calories) and low on nutrition. Here’s a list of foods to limit:

  • Fried foods
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Sugary snacks and drinks
  • Take away foods
  • Processed foods and meats
  • White breads, cakes and pastries
donut unhealthy food diets

Don’t forget to exercise too!

It’s well documented that the inclusion of regular exercise into your routine can have a dramatic impact on your mental health. So while you’re eating better, move better too!

Taking small steps on your journey to good health doesn’t have to be daunting – begin with a walk around the block, and gradually increase as your fitness levels do. Exercise releases endorphins, which help keep you happy!

Small dietary changes can make a big difference in how you feel over time.

Not only can they help improve your mood, but they also keep you healthy for many other reasons!

eat more of what makes you happy

Book an appointment with Saabira here

saabira dietitian healthmint

Book an appointment with Dr Natasha here

Want more information?

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or book an appointment here
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Medical Centre Cranbourne: HealthMint Has 5 Minute Wait Times

By | General Wellbeing | No Comments

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Channel 10 news popped into HealthMint Medical Centre in Cranbourne North this week to see what all the hype has been about lately surrounding the clinic and reports that we have only a 5 minute wait time to see a GP!

We had an amazing experience showcasing the Clinic of the Future with the use of technology and amazing staff to make the patient experience a positive and memorable one. Patients can check themselves in using iPads while a concierge welcomes them at our check in bar before relaxing in the lap of luxury.

Here at this Cranbourne Medical Centre, traditional reception areas as well as Doctors sitting behind clunky desks have been done away with. This allows for better contact with patients which results in them feeling heard and understood – an approach unique to HealthMint Medical Centre.

Streamlining the registration and sign in process allows for longer consultations for each patient. Appointments actually run on time at HealthMint! Current patients continue to express their pleasure with no longer having to wait extended periods of time (sometimes hours) to see a doctor. Long wait times are considered the norm at most other GP clinics.

Founder and co-owner of HealthMint Chantelle Brott explains to 10 News, “When you’re unwell you want nothing more than to sit on the couch in your pyjamas. So we thought why not create that living room like experience.”

There are plans in place to expand HealthMint’s unique style of medicine across the country. It’s a goal to make a significant change in Australian healthcare.

Ashley Apps a patient at HealthMint told 10 News how wonderful it was to “actually want to come to the doctors, instead of dreading going each time”. Her needs to provide her children with the best healthcare has been made possible thanks to the clinic.

Booking appointment focuses on technology with the option of downloading the HealthMint app or booking online.

 

Want to experience HealthMint Medical Centre Cranbourne for yourself? Book an appointment here

10 news first melbourne healthmint medical centre

Want more information?

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Lactose Intolerance Symptoms and Treatments

By | General Wellbeing, Lifestyle, Nutrition | No Comments

Lactose Intolerance is a phrase that is commonly thrown around, but many people don’t realise the signs, symptoms, treatments and that yes! you can still consume some of your favourite dairy foods!

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance comes from the body not having enough lactase enzymes in order to digest lactose.

What is lactose?

Lactose is a milk sugar that is broken down by the enzyme lactase, which is found in the small intestine. It is present in milk based products such as yoghurt, cream and cheese.

How do I know if I am lactose intolerant?

What are the signs/symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Flactulence
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting

Please note that these can also be common symptoms for many other conditions and it is important to speak with your GP before removing foods from your diet.

Does this mean I can never have milk or milk products again?

No! Everyone has different tolerance levels to lactose and therefore if you undertake tolerance testing with your dietitian you can assess how much lactose you can personally have. Generally speaking, many people can tolerate small quantities over time (depending how much you eat and eating it with other foods. For example, someone may be able to tolerate milk in their cereal but not tolerate a whole glass of milk OR they can tolerate milk in their coffee but not tolerate a bottle of strawberry Big M. Full cream milk seems to be better tolerated than low fat milks.

There are lactose free milk products in your local supermarket. If you enjoy the taste of cows milk then look out for labels that say ‘lactose free’

I love milk – what are some tasty alternatives?

Soy milk, almond milk and other milk alternatives do not contain lactose – but check the labels to ensure they are calcium enriched.

 

Are lactose free products available?

In recent times the lactose free product range has exploded into supermarkets. You definitely won’t miss out or feel left out when shopping for your favourite items like ice-cream!

How can I manage my intolerance to lactose?

If I am eating at a restaurant or am away on holiday and I’m not sure of the lactose content of some of the menu items, how do I help prevent the discomfort?

You can purchase lactase tablets or drops from your local pharmacy which can be added to food or taken along with food to help with digestion.

How to shop for and check the ingredients list at the supermarket

If you are trying to avoid lactose, ingredients to look for in lists on food labels include:

  • Milk solids
  • Non-fat milk solids
  • Whey
  • Milk sugar

Foods that may contain hidden lactose include:

  • Museli bars
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Quiche
  • Cheese sauces
  • Custard
  • Some breads and margarines
  • Pancakes
  • Processed breakfast cereals
  • Cakes and muffins

Can I eat cheese?

Hard cheeses are naturally low in lactose and can be safely consumed without symptoms and discomfort.

Some of these cheeses include:

  • Cheddar
  • Edam
  • Swiss
  • Mozzarella
  • Brie
  • Feta

Also, butter and cream actually contain very low levels of lactose and are well tolerated.

However, there are also lactose free cheeses readily available  at the supermarket

If you have lactose intolerant children

Meal planning with kids can be hard enough at the best of times, let alone when they have an intolerance. Thankfully there are many healthy options for your little ones with clear labels and ingredients you can feel confident about. 

Saabira Wazeer is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist at HealthMint.

She educates and helps clients manage lactose intolerance, including tolerance testing through trials.

To read more about Saabira and watch her introduce herself visit: www.healthmint.com.au/ourteam

Find out more about our Dietitian services head here: www.healthmint.com.au/our-services/dietitian/

Check out the Dietitians Association of Australia here: https://daa.asn.au/smart-eating-for-you/smart-eating-fast-facts/medical/understanding-lactose-intolerance/

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Stacey’s Melanoma Story – An Unexpected Diagnosis

By | Cancer, Skin, Women's Health | No Comments

An Unexpected Diagnosis

When Stacey was just 28, she was diagnosed with Melanoma.

Finding the melanoma wasn’t supposed to happen, but due to a series of events Stacey is lucky it was found in such early stages.

“I booked my husband in for a mole check as one of his footy team mates was diagnosed with terminal cancer from a melanoma” Stacey recalls. “Unfortunately, (well very fortunately) my husband couldn’t make the appointment at short notice so instead of cancelling the appointment I decided to get my moles checked.”

stacey-murphy-healthmint-melanomaStacey was seen by Dr Paul Tescher who did a full skin check – checking every mole on her body. “He was concerned about a small mole, only 3mm in diameter that I thought looked just like a freckle”. A couple of days later the conspicuous mole was removed and sent off for testing.

“It was Sunday afternoon and my husband and I were shopping at Fountain Gate when I received a call from Dr Paul’s Clinic”. Stacey was asked to attend the clinic immediately. “Upon this phone call my husband and I knew the mole must of been cancerous and our legs went to jelly.”

Dr Paul broke the news to Stacey that the mole had tested positive to melanoma. The cancer was spreading across the surface of Stacey’s skin and towards her bloodstream and the entire circumference of the mole tested positive to melanoma. However due to the early diagnosis, “he was extremely positive and reassuring that I would return to full health.”

Once Stacey was given her options for the removal of the melanoma, Dr Paul was able to undertake the procedure.

“The idea of having cancer in my body was terrifying so I wanted to ensure it was gone as quick as possible.”

The procedure to remove the cancer took place the next day and 1cm was removed around the original incision. A hole about the size of a 20cent piece was cut to create a flap in the skin to stretch and cover the hole. Stacey received a total of 21 stitches. This was then sent off for testing – and luckily came back with the all clear and no further traces of melanoma.

stacey-murphy-healthmint-melanoma

A family history of melanoma is apparent in Stacey’s family, with a few of her Mother’s 6 siblings being diagnosed later in life. “They were definitely surprised with my diagnosis,” Stacey claims. “I have two siblings myself and both are blonde with fair skin, while I am a brunette with olive skin. Call me naive, but I thought they would be more at risk than myself!”

“Like most Australians, I love being outdoors and soaking up the UV rays, but we need to realise that without the proper skin protection, this can come at a price.” Stacey still enjoys summer and the outdoors but now uses a 50+ sunscreen any time she heads outside.

“The diagnosis changed my outlook on life. I try not to stress the small stuff, and I take very little for granted. I wanted to share my story to encourage people of all ages to get their skin regularly checked, and to also push the use of sun protection for themselves and their families.”

stacey-murphy-malenoma-scar

“I know have a big beautiful scar on my arm which I wear with pride. It is a reminder not only to myself, but to all that know me to Slip, Slop, Slap!”

 

Thank you to Stacey for giving her permission to publish her story and her voice to help raise awareness about the importance of getting your skin checked.

If you are concerned about any unusual spots, freckles or moles, book an appointment to have your skin checked by clicking here

You can read more about our skin checks and mole removal here

If you would like more information on melanoma and the signs and symptoms to look out for then read our other articles:

Melanoma Symptoms

Skin Cancer Facts

Summer Safe Skin – What you should know about skin cancer

Skin cancer, skin checks and moles – oh my!

Want more information?

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Melanoma Symptoms

By | Cancer, Skin | No Comments

What is Melanoma, What are the Symptoms of Melanoma?

 

 

Fast and scary facts on melanoma

  • Melanoma is Australia’s national cancer
  • Melanoma kills more young Australians than any other type of cancer
  • 1 person EVERY 5 hours will die from melanoma in Australia
  • Estimated 1,905 people died from melanoma in 2018
  • Estimated over 14,000 will be diagnosed in 2019

(https://melanoma.canceraustralia.gov.au/statistics)

Melanoma has stages…and types

There are five stages of melanoma, and they range in severity from 0 to IV. Each stage is based on characteristics such as the ulceration, the thickness of the tumour and if lymph nodes or organs are affected. Once the melanoma is diagnosed, the stage it is in will guide the treatment.

Check out https://www.melanoma.org.au/understanding-melanoma/stages-of-melanoma/ for their definitions and treatments for each stage.

Symptoms of melanoma that are hidden in plain sight (!) The hidden threat

Lumps beneath the skin

These are called nodular melanomas and can occur anywhere on the skin. They are particularly dangerous because they grow into the skin much faster than they change dimensions on the skin surface. These can be very tricky to notice before they spread.

Under the nails

As well as palms of the hands and the soles of feet.

“Age spots”

Watch out for those spots you already have that you think are changing over time because you are just ‘ageing’. Think again and have them checked.

Changes in your scalp

These are so dangerous because if you have a full head of hair, the spots are not in plain sight.

The groin and more!

Areas that never see the sun are still at risk of developing melanoma

Vision changes

Eye melanoma may not produce any symptoms, but any changes in vision should be seen by a doctor immediately

Check out and learn your ABCDEs

abcde-melanoma-signs

A is for Asymmetrical – moles with irregular shapes and that have two very different halves

B is for Border (irregular) – notched, scalloped or irregular borders

C is for Colour (changes in) – growths that may have many colours or an uneven distribution of colours

D is for Diameter – look for moles that are greater than about 6mm in diameter

E is for Evolving – always look out for changes over time. Ones that grow, change in shape and colour, or begin to itch or bleed

Treatment options for melanoma

Treatment for melanoma will depend on the following:

  • The stage of the disease
  • The location of the cancer
  • The severity of the symptoms
  • Your general health and wishes

Treatment may involved the following:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Clinical trials
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted Therapy
  • Chemotherapy

Any of these treatment methods are invasive and if waited until too late they have no guarantee that they will be successful and carry many risks and side affects.

I want to be proactive in looking after my skin – how do I prevent melanoma?

In Australia it’s near impossible to not be exposed to the sun at some point in the day. It is still important to get some UV exposure in skin-water-summer-tan-healthmintorder to take in and absorb Vitamin D which is crucial to your health. However it is recommended to do this in the earlier hours of the day and in the evening when the sun is not at its strongest.

  • Avoid the sun in the middle of the day (generally 10am-4pm) which is when it is strongest and you are more likely to get sunburnt.
  • Wear sunscreen all year round and include it into your morning routine.
  • Avoid tanning beds – they emit UV rays and increase your risk of skin cancer
  • Get to know the skin you’re in – examine your skin regularly for new skin growths or changes in existing moles, bumps, birthmarks and freckles. Be sure you don’t neglect between your toes, the soles your feet and your genitals!

skin-sunscreen-healthmint-protect

Are you frightened by the information above? Terrified by the facts you didn’t realise about melanoma? Now is the time to get your skin checked. Book an appointment online here or call (03) 5611 3365

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Want more information?

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or book an appointment here
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Back to School

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Back to school!

Whether you’re sending your teenager off to their final year of schooling, or you have a little one beginning prep, it’s a busy and exciting time for families across the country over the next couple of weeks.

Here are some tips to help ease the transition and make for a happy and healthy year!

Master the art of the lunchbox

Bento style lunchboxes are all the rage. Keep it simple by adding cut fruit, sandwiches, vegetable sticks and their favourite yoghurt.

Walk to school

it doesn’t have to be every day, but if you can include this into you and your child’s routine, your health will thank you. Getting out in the early morning fresh air is great for your mental health too!

Stick to the same bed times

Make sure your child is getting enough (quality) sleep by enforcing a bed routine. Kids of any age need upwards of 10 hours of sleep a night. It’s also crucial to wind down before bed time- this means no iPads and TV at least a half hour before they hit the hay.

Handle the dreaded head lice 

Keep long hair tied up, don’t wash your kids hair too frequently (they love fresh hair!) and keep ‘butting heads’ to a minimum 😂

Ease those nerves

Starting school can be an exciting but daunting time for kids. Help ease any anxieties they may have by talking about all the positive and wonderful adventures and opportunities the new school year is going to bring. In the first few weeks back, give your kids something to look forward to after school like an evening at the beach, and ice cream, or dinner at their favourite cafe

Make sure their health is in check

Start the school year on the right foot with a visit to the doctors to make sure everything is in tip top shape. Be proactive with their health and ask your GP how you can help keep your kids (and yourself!) happy and healthy this year.

Book an appointment here or click the link below!

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The Health Benefits of Going Outside

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The Health Benefits of Going Outside

Most of us have been told since childhood that “getting fresh air” is important for a healthy mind and body. While there are many common myths used in parenting, spending time outside actually is extremely important to maintain health. Here are some reasons why it’s important to get out of your usual four walls.

Physical Benefits

One of the best things about getting outside is that it can actually benefit your physical body. Studies that looked at campers who spent two nights in the forest compared to people who had spent those nights in an urban environment showed the campers had a lower heartrate and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Inflammation in the body can have a range of negative effects over the long term, and people who spend time outside have been shown to have lower levels of inflammation.

Sleep Better

These lower levels of stress, inflammation and resting heart rate combine to give people who have spent time outside a better sleep. If you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, finding time during the day to take advantage of natural light and natural surroundings could help you to calm down and doze off.

Feel Better

Going outside can reduce anxiety and counteract seasonal depression. Even working indoors with natural light from a window is beneficial to a person’s mental state, creating mood elevation and increasing alertness and concentration. Spending time in natural surrounds can have a significant impact on people experiencing depression and anxiety, helping them to calm and improve their mood.

Boost Creativity

Studies into people who spend time in nature find they experience a boost in creativity. While the improved sleep and mental clarity certainly helps, studies have shown that a single walk outside can measurably improve creativity.

Get Fit

While just getting some light and fresh air is a great place to start, pairing it with some exercise enhances the benefits even further. Going for a run, swimming, cycling or doing yoga in a park –most communities have a huge range of activities available to incentivise you to leave the house, and they could be very low cost or even free!

Meet New People

One thing your lounge room is very unlikely to have is new people to meet, but the outdoors is likely to have many. Find an activity that will allow you to meet new people, and you can add the benefits of healthy socialisation with the other improvements for your mind and body. Many communities host events and clubs, such as Park Runs, fishing clubs, nature walks, photography and art classes, exercise groups. Websites like MeetUp.com can help you connect with people who share similar interests and provide further incentives to leave the house.

If you’re struggling with feeling down, sleep problems, stress or anxiety, prioritise some outdoors time every day to help you feel calm and centred. If getting outside is not enough, you might need to chat to your GP. Even if you do need some extra help, lifestyle changes can help you feel better – and getting outside is a great place to start.

Want more information?

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Acne

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The Causes of Acne and What You Can Do About It

Acne is a common condition, but it is a medical issue that can range from mild to severe. While not dangerous, acne can leave sufferers with low self-esteem and cause long-term issues such as scarring. It’s not always just a matter of washing your face – acne has many causes and it can be difficult to budge. Here are some facts about acne and what you can do to treat it.

What is acne?

Our skin is covered in pores that connect to oil glands under the surface. Follicles connect the glands to the pores. When the pores become blocked, oil (or sebum) builds up under the skin. Acne is a chronic and inflammatory skin condition. Acne can come in the form of whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, cysts and nodules. It is most often seen on the face, shoulders, back, neck chest and upper arms.

Acne often comes during puberty due to changes in hormones and the activation of sebaceous glands, but it can come at any age. It affects both males and females. Acne is not dangerous, but it can leave scars and be traumatic for people who are concerned about acne’s effect on their appearance

What causes acne?

The basic cause of acne is blocked pores. However, what causes the pores to become blocked is slightly more complicated. The glands that produce oil are stimulated by hormones. When the gland becomes blocked, the surrounding area can become infected and then swollen. The bacteria that contributes to acne is called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes).

However, not all bacteria give people acne – one strain even helps keep skin acne free. Genetic factors can also increase the risk of acne. Other factors that can cause or increase the likelihood of acne include the menstrual cycle, anxiety and stress, oil-based cosmetics, squeezing pimples and sweating.

How is acne treated?

Acne has a number of treatments ranging from mild to very strong, depending on how severe and persistent the acne is. There are a number of home remedies that can be tried, although for most options the research shows limited effect. Changing diet (especially increasing vitamins A, E and zinc, or switching to low GI),using tea tree oil, the topical application of green tea, and moisturisers (especially containing witch hazel or 10% aloe vera) are common home remedies from mild to moderate acne.

Over the counter medications are usually the next step, and are available from the supermarket or pharmacy. The most effective contain ingredients such as benzyl peroxide, salicylic acid, Retin-A, Azelaic acid and Resorcinol. People with sensitive skin should use cream-based instead of alcohol-based gels (which can be drying). People with acne should start with a lower concentration as these medicated preparations can cause skin irritation. The benefits are usually seen after six to eight weeks.

For acne that does not respond to these methods, the help of a specialist will be required. Your GP will be the first stop, so they can make some suggestions or refer you on to a dermatologist if necessary. The most intensive treatments include corticosteroid injection, oral antibiotics, hormonal birth control, topical antimicrobials and isoretinoin. These treatments need to be taken under the strict supervision of a medical professional.

Managing acne from home.

Wherever possible, prevention is the best option for people with acne. Some tips to avoid breakouts include:

  • Don’t pop, squeeze or disturb pimples
  • Avoid washing your face too frequently, and use mild soap and warm water
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially before putting products on your skin, and avoid touching your face as much as possible
  • Clean things that touch your face such as your glasses, phone and razor
  • Loose clothing can let the skin breathe and reduce pimples on the body
  • Clean hair, free of oily products like cocoa butter, will be less likely to cause acne
  • Be conscious of the cosmetics you use, and remove makeup before bed
  • Avoid sweating too much wherever possible

There are many options for people who are looking to manage acne, but if you can’t get it under control from home, you should talk to your GP and get professional help. Acne is a very common condition, but it can be hard to shift. If you’re concerned about your acne, have a chat with a medical professional and start the journey towards clear skin.

Want more information?

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or book an appointment here

Skin Cancer Facts

By | Body Systems, Cancer, Skin | No Comments

It’s beginning to heat up, and Australians are eager to get out into the sun. We all know that skin cancer is a problem, but many people show a concerning disregard of sun safety. Australia has some of the highest melanoma rates in the world – two out of every three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before they are 70. It’s clearly an issue we need to address as a nation. Here are some facts about skin cancer that serve as a reminder to take sun safety seriously.

Melanoma is very common – and it can be deadly. Melanoma is the third most common cancer in men and women. It accounts for only 2% of diagnosed skin cancers, but it is responsible for 75% of skin cancer deaths. In the last 20 years, melanoma rates have doubled and are still on the rise. That being said, if melanoma is detected early it can often be completely cured with just a simple procedure.

But melanoma isn’t the only concern. Skin cancer occurs from damage to skin cells, and there are three main types. Along with melanoma, you could be at risk of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. While melanoma is the leading cause of skin cancer death, there are still significant numbers of deaths due to non-melanoma skin cancer.

It’s not worth it for a tan. Tanned skin used to be considered healthy, but actually a tan is a sign that you have been exposed to enough UV radiation to damage your skin. Many people ignore sun safety in favour of tanning for beauty-related reasons, but tanning can also cause wrinkles, sagging, and yellow or brown discolouration on the skin. A fake tan is ok from a skin cancer point of view, but don’t forget that it won’t actually protect you from the sun – you can still get sunburn.

You and your doctor make the best team. You should take time to get familiar with how your skin looks to make it easier to identify any changes. There are many great resources around to help you understand what you’re looking for. The Cancer Councils website is a great place to start. They suggest you keep a close eye out for:

  • any crusty, non-healing sores
  • small lumps that are red, pale or pearly in colour
  • new spots, freckles or any moles changing in colour, thickness or shape over a period of weeks to months.

If you notice any changes or haven’t had a skin check recently, you should see your GP to get your skin assessed. You will need to go to a skin specialist, who will examine your skin to identify any potential areas of concern.  Keeping up regular checks, both at home and every year or so with a professional, will help make sure your skin isn’t preparing a nasty surprise.

We all love the sun, but with summer on the way make sure you protect yourself and your loved ones. Team up with your doctor to ensure that if there is a problem, you’ll pick up on it early. Sunburn is a serious issue, so don’t forget to enjoy the sunshine – but stay safe.

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