Anyone can get skin cancer. In fact, it is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Despite this alarming statistic, we should seek solace in another fact that when skin cancer is caught early, it is highly treatable. That’s why protection and detection are so important in the fight against skin cancer. In this blog, we’ll describe how to avoid or minimize your risk for skin cancer. In the next blog, we’ll describe how to check your skin for signs of cancer.
Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays – typically via sun exposure or tanning – is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. Here are five tips from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) to protect your skin from the damaging effects of UV exposure and reduce your risk for skin cancer.
Wear protective clothing when outdoors, as much as possible.
Seek shade when appropriate, particularly when the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Generously and appropriately apply proper sunscreen, as described in more detail below.
Avoid tanning beds; instead, consider using a self-tanning product if you want to look tan but continue to use sunscreen with it when outdoors.
Use extra caution near water, sand, and even snow because these surfaces reflect the damaging UV rays of the sun.
As previously alluded, sunscreen is an extremely important tool in the fight against cancer. With that said, choosing the right sunscreen and applying it appropriately can make all the difference in helping you reduce the risk of skin cancer. Learn how to properly select a sunscreen from the graphic below from AAD.
When applying sunscreen, follow these tips from dermatologists to get the most protection from your sunscreen.
Apply sunscreen before going outdoors.
Apply enough sunscreen to cover all skin not covered by protective clothing.
When outdoors, reapply sunscreen every two hours, or immediately after swimming or appreciably sweating.
Regardless of our skin color, we are all at risk for developing skin cancer. While some people are at greater risk, for a variety of reasons, all of us can adopt approaches to protect our skin and reduce our risk for skin cancer. Minimizing your exposure to damaging UV rays by using proper sunscreen is one of the easiest and safest ways to protect your skin against skin cancer. However, sunscreen is not effective unless it’s applied correctly. The tips noted in this blog, along with a how-to video from the AAD can help you get the most protection from your sunscreen.
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How to Select a Sunscreen infographic was reprinted with permission from the American Academy of Dermatology. All rights reserved.