It feels great to be out in the sun. Unfortunately, while you are enjoying yourself, the sun is damaging your skin. Excessive sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. There are steps you can take to prevent skin cancer, and your dermatologist can help.
What You Need to Know about Skin Cancer
You are at greater risk of skin cancer if you:
- Have fair skin
- Burn easily
- Have a family history of skin cancer
- Spend long periods of time out in the sun
Did you know the effects of sun exposure are cumulative? That means all the sun exposure you experienced growing up is building up on your skin, causing skin damage, and in some cases, skin cancer. That’s why the prevention of skin cancer can never start too early. You need to:
- Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day
- Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher if you plan to be outside for long periods of time
- Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50 if you are fair-skinned, burn easily, or have a high risk of skin cancer
- Avoid using tanning booths
- Stay out of the sun between 10 AM and 4 PM, when UV rays are the most harmful
- Wear sun-blocking clothing, including hats and sunglasses
It’s also important to examine your skin regularly, at least once each week. You need to look for:
- Dry, scaly, itchy, or red patches of skin that don’t go away
- Large moles that are 6 millimeters in diameter or greater
- Asymmetrically shaped moles with ragged, uneven borders
- Changes in the size, shape, or color of your moles
- Recurring moles that have grown back after the previous removal
Visiting your dermatologist at least once each year for a skin check is another great way to help prevent skin cancer. Your dermatologist knows what to look for and can detect early signs of skin cancer when it is easily treatable.
Want to Learn More?
To learn more about skin cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, call your dermatologist today.