Dr. Whitney’s Picks
If you’ve ever had a blistering sunburn, used a tanning salon, or just spent too much time in the sun, you need to read this.
More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. In fact, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer before the age of 70 and many are diagnosed in their 30’s and 40’s.
I can’t tell you how many times a young woman (yes, skin cancer impacts young women too) asks me casually about a little “pimple” that isn’t going away and it turns out being a skin cancer that requires extensive surgery and changes her life forever.
Even the tiniest little ditzel on the nose can require a flap, a graft, and leave you with a permanent scar.
Unfortunately, most of my patients don’t actually start practicing sun safe behaviors until they get that dreaded phone call.
Every time I make a phone call to give a patient a diagnosis of skin cancer, I get a terrible pain in my stomach and an ache in my heart. It’s probably the hardest part of my job.
Although we know how important sunscreen can be when it comes to skin cancer prevention, even people at high risk for skin cancer often forget to apply or reapply. With skin cancer on the rise, there’s an obvious need for additional preventive measures.
You guys have heard me recommend sun protective clothing, a broad rimmed hat, sunglasses, and you’re probably sick of hearing me tell you to seek shade during the peak hours of sun exposure (11-2pm). Now there’s mounting evidence that taking a certain vitamin can provide even greater protection.
Recent studies show that taking an oral supplement called nicotinamide every day can actually reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. Nicotinamide is a form of vitamin B3 but, unlike its cousin, niacin, nicotinamide does not cause flushing or headaches. It’s actually very well tolerated and has a great safety profile. Studies, including one in the New England Journal of Medicine, show that taking nicotinamide daily can significantly reduce your risk of skin cancer.
How does it work? UV rays increase your risk of skin cancer in 3 main ways: by damaging the DNA in your skin cells, suppressing your own natural immune response to tumor growth, and last, by depleting the energy stores in the form of ATP. Normally ATP is used by your skin cells to repair damage, but sun exposure makes our ATP levels plummet, so we don’t have the cellular energy to repair the DNA damage that’s being done. Nicotinamide is actually used by the body to make more ATP, so it boosts cellular energy and enhances DNA repair. When you take nicotinamide, it helps to build up enough cellular energy to repair the damage done by harmful UV rays.
The form of nicotinamide I recommend to my patients is Heliocare Advanced. I often recommend Heliocare to my patients who want to be proactive about having healthy, radiant skin. However, for those of you who know you’ve seen a bit too much sun in your day (yeah, you know who you are!), I’d highly recommend using the new Heliocare Advanced supplement every morning. The added nicotinamide is exactly what your skin needs. If you’ve had skin cancer already, it’s a no brainer.
With this post, my hope is to reach at least one person before he or she gets that dreaded phone call, and I’m hoping it protects him or her from that experience forever. My intention is never to scare you – it is to inform and empower you with the most recent advancement to optimize your health and of course, the health of your beautiful skin! I am honored to partner with Heliocare to bring you this information.