As the temperatures heat up and we slip into the summer season, more and more…
For many, there’s nothing better than the summer season. Whether it’s soaking up the delightful summer sun, barbecuing with friends on a warm summer evening, or going for a refreshing dip in local waters on a hot afternoon, summertime is when many friends and family make smile-worthy memories and take advantage of the better weather.
Although, along with the extra time spent in the sun comes an even higher risk for skin cancer. This is why it’s even more crucial to take the necessary precautions and steps to protect your skin and reduce your risk for skin cancer!
Read our dermatologists’ simple skin cancer prevention tips to stay safe this summer. (And don’t forget to have fun when making all your best summer memories this year!)
Simple Skin Cancer Prevention
When you get down to the bottom of it, preventing skin cancer is simple – reduce your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, as the most common types of skin cancers are primarily caused by excessive, unprotected exposure to UV rays.
However, it’s not always so straightforward, as there are a few uncontrollable factors that increase your skin cancer risk right from the get-go.
What are Factors that Increase Skin Cancer Risk?
Not sure what a “risk factor” is? Well, it’s simply anything that increases your risk for developing skin cancer. This can be anything such as a fair appearance to having more moles on your body.
That said, just because you have one or more of the following risk factors does not mean you’ll automatically develop skin cancer, nor does not having any of the risk factors mean you won’t develop skin cancer.
The most common risk factors for skin cancer include:
- Excessive, unprotected exposure to UV rays, including multiple sunburns.
- Having a weakened immune system due to a disease or illness.
- Using tanning beds.
- Fair appearance, such as lighter skin, blue or green eyed, red or blond hair.
- Family history of skin cancer.
- Atypical moles or a large amount of moles.
- Having a condition that makes you more sensitive to light.
If you have one or more of the following risk factors, don’t fret! Though your personal risk may be higher than others, that does not mean you can’t take the necessary steps to reduce your risk and actually prevent skin cancer.
Top Skin Cancer Prevention Tips
Wear Sunscreen & Apply it Correctly – Did you know many people don’t wear the right sunscreen or apply it correctly? This increases the risk for nasty sunburns, as well as skin cancer.
Follow these tips for optimal sunscreen protection:
- Always choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Apply sunscreen 10-15 minutes before you go outside to ensure it absorbs fully.
- Choose water-resistant or sweat-proof sunscreen formulas when swimming, playing sports, or doing outside work.
- Reapply every 2 hours, or more often if swimming or sweating heavily.
- Check the sunscreen expiration date and buy a new bottle if outdated.
- For an adult, apply about one ounce of sunscreen (a shot glass size) to cover their entire body.
- Apply about one teaspoon of sunscreen to cover the face.
Avoid the Sun Between 10 AM and 4 PM – The sun’s rays are at their strongest during these peak daytime hours. Try to avoid direct sunlight this time of day, or seek shade when possible.
Never Use Tanning Beds – Did you know tanning bed lights can emit UV radiation that is 10-15X greater than sun rays?
People who use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk of developing melanoma by 75%! This is why it’s crucial to never use tanning beds. The temporary tan is not worth putting your skin at risk!
Use a Combination of Sun Protection Methods – To further reduce your risk, use a combination of sun protection strategies, such as wearing sunscreen and UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) clothing.
Additionally, always wear SPF chapstick to protect your sensitive lips and protective sunglasses to keep your eyes shaded. (Ocular melanoma, better known as eye melanoma, is not something to take lightly!)
Schedule Your Annual Skin Cancer Screening!
Did you know most skin cancers are exponentially more curable when detected early? This is why we always recommend our patients schedule an annual skin cancer screening with a board-certified dermatologist, as well as perform monthly self-exams to keep their skin health in check!
At Brentwood Dermatology, our team of board-certified dermatologists is experienced in detecting, diagnosing and treating skin cancer to help our patients stay as healthy as possible!
If you’re in the Brentwood or Franklin areas in Tennessee and would like to get your annual skin cancer screening, schedule an appointment at our state-of-the-art clinic today by calling (615) 377-3448 or requesting an appointment online.
Brentwood Dermatology is a leader in skin cancer detection and treatment. If you notice a spot that’s concerning or have been recently diagnosed with skin cancer and are interested in learning more about your treatment options, give us a call at (615) 377-3448 to schedule an appointment right away.