by Melissa Brunner
I got an eye-opening look at my face this week! Matt Herynk at the Cotton-O'Neil Cancer Center has been using a DermaScan machine to educate people on the damage the sun can do to unprotected skin. The machine uses an ultraviolet light which makes hidden damage show up as freckles and dark spots.
As scary as the picture was, I think I got a bit of a reprieve - Matt didn't make me take off my makeup! So, overall, he didn't think it looked too bad. The worst spot is below my left eye. My husband, Doug, was the photographer for the story and we convinced him to put his face in for a look, too. We laughed at the comparison to "Beetlejuice" - seems all those years in the hay fields as a kids are catching up with him. Matt and our friend Anita had their pictures taken, too. The light even brings out spots on your lips - a reminder how important it is to use the spf lip balm!
Actually, Doug is very religious about applying sunscreen these days, especially too his face. Several years ago, he had a basal cell carcinoma - a skin cancer - removed from his face. He was fortunate in that it only affected a small area and you can barely notice the scar. But he wants to do all he can to ward off any further damage.
Looking in the mirror under the ultraviolet light was a stark reminder. Even with as many times as I've done stories on skin cancer and sunscreen, I still run a lot of miles and work many hours in the yard without taking the necessary precautions. Seeing what lurks beneath the surface, I'll be more inclined to follow my husband's lead and take the few minutes to put on sunscreen.
By the way, Stormont-Vail HealthConnections will mail you sun safety tips and a free sample of sunscreen if you just give them a call at 785-354-5225.
And if you missed it, here's the lovely photo: