Reducing your exposure to UV light is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers. More than five sunburns actually doubles an individual’s risk of melanoma. Fortunately, most melanoma is preventable, and adopting sun-smart habits and performing regular self-skin examinations are critical to keeping skin healthy and cancer free.
Although tans can be popular – and hard to avoid to some degree in our climate here – a tan can be a sign that your skin has been injured. As the damage builds, you accelerate the aging process of your skin and increase your risk for all types of skin cancer – including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
- Seek shade (especially during peak mid-day hours, 10am-2pm)
- Avoid indoor tanning beds
- Wear sun-protective clothing and wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses when outdoors
- Use a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) water-resistant sunscreen
- Apply 15 minutes before sun exposure / going swimming
- Use SPF of 30 or higher (70 is better than 30)
- Reapply every 2 hours, or after swimming/sweating
- Use at least a small glass full with each application on adults
- Don’t forget the tops of your feet, your neck, your ears and the top of your head
- Use even on cloudy days
- Consider using a self-tanning product if you want to look tan
- Perform regular self skin-exams to detect skin cancer early – notify your dermatologist of anything new, suspicious, changing, itching or bleeding
More information on sun protection for babies: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer/prevent/sun-babies