Reducing the Risk of Malignant Melanoma

 

Malignant melanoma is a deadly skin cancer. Dermatologists have good success treating it if it’s diagnosed early, but when it goes undetected, melanoma can become very serious. Fortunately, there are some precautions you can take to dramatically reduce your risk of developing malignant melanoma and other skin cancers. In addition to taking the following precautions, you should schedule a skin cancer screening every year, and do a skin self-exam monthly. 

Avoid unnecessary sun exposure. 

It’s a common myth that unprotected exposure to sunshine is healthy, given the need for vitamin D. But actually, humans only need a little bit of sun exposure to absorb vitamin D. This vitamin is also present in some enriched food products. So protect your skin by staying out of the sun as much as possible. Schedule outdoor activities for the morning or evening hours, when the sun is weakest. When you do go outdoors, wear clothing that covers much of the skin, and put on a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses labeled for UV protection. If you shop around, you can even find clothing designed to reduce UV exposure. 

Avoid tanning beds.

Artificial sources of UV rays are just as harmful as UV rays from the sun. Avoid tanning beds at all costs. If you want to get your skin glowing, you can use a tanning lotion that doesn’t require any UV exposure to work. 

Use sunscreen every day. 

Everyone should apply sunscreen every day, no matter what time of year it is or what the weather is like outdoors. Clouds aren’t effective filters for UV rays, and cold temperatures have no effect on them at all. Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply a generous amount to all areas of exposed skin, making sure to get commonly missed areas like your ears, back of the neck, face, and back of the hands. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you sweat heavily or go swimming. 

Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology invites new and current patients to schedule a skin cancer screening at our state-of-the-art dermatology clinic in Salt Lake City. We emphasize the critical importance of preventive health because the well-being and quality of life of our patients are important to us. You can reach us at (801) 266-8841. 

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