Skin cancer is unfortunately becoming more and more common. In fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. And while that statistic is scary, the good news is that skin cancer is also one of the most preventable cancers. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some easy ways to protect your skin from cancer-causing UV rays–beyond just sunscreen.
Wear Protective Clothing
One of the best ways to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun is to cover up with clothing. Long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses all provide excellent protection from UV radiation. If you know you’ll be spending extended periods of time outdoors, be sure to pack extra clothing so you can cover up if needed.
When possible, try to spend time in the shade–especially between the hours of 10am and 4pm when UV rays are the strongest. If there’s no natural shade available, bring along an umbrella or pop-up canopy to create your own shady oasis.
We know, we know–you’ve heard it a million times before. But using sunscreen is still one of the best ways to prevent skin cancer. Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and apply it generously 15-30 minutes before heading outside. Don’t forget to reapply every two hours (more often if you’re swimming or sweating), even if the sunscreen claims to be “waterproof.”
And while we’re on the subject of sunscreen….
Avoid Tanning Beds
Tanning beds emit harmful UV rays that can cause skin cancer, so it’s best to avoid them altogether. If you must use a tanning bed (for example, if you’re preparing for a wedding or other big event), be sure to use eye protection and limit your exposure as much as possible.
The Importance of Annual Skin Cancer Exams
Annual skin cancer exams are important for early detection and treatment of skin cancer. During a skin cancer exam, a doctor or dermatologist will examine your skin for any changes or abnormalities. Be sure to tell your doctor about any changes in your skin, including new moles, growths, sores, or changes in existing moles. You should also tell your doctor if you have any family history of skin cancer. Skin cancer exams are quick and easy, and they could save your life!
Let Swinyer – Woseth Dermatology Help Safeguard Your Skin Today!
Protecting your skin from cancer-causing UV rays is important for everyone, but especially those with fair skin, a history of skin cancer, or a family history of the disease. By following the tips in this blog post–like wearing protective clothing and seeking shade–you can dramatically reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. Most importantly, if you have any concerns about your skin or are due for a mole check, please contact us today at Swinyer – Woseth Dermatology. We would be happy to help you protect your skin!