Top 5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Skin Cancer

George Wooming, M.D.’s top 5 things you can do to prevent skin cancer

What types of skin cancers are there?

Skin cancer is mostly caused from too much sun exposure and the use of tanning beds. Dermatologists have determined three main types of skin cancer.

1.    Basal cell carcinoma. This particular skin cancer is the least dangerous and is the most common. This stems from the lowest layer of the skin and can appear translucent and sometimes become an ulcer.

2.    Squamous cell carcinoma. The level of cancer is a bit more dangerous and can become fatal if left untreated. Squamous stems from the middle layer of the skin and is less common. Aesthetically it looks like a red, crusted, or scaly bump on the skin. Many times it can be a tumor that grows quickly.

3.    Malignant melanoma. This is the most severe case of skin cancer, yet the most uncommon. If not treated, this cancer will spread and become fatal. Originates from the pigment-producing cells. It appears on the skin in various colors and in irregular patterns.

Top 5 things you can do to prevent skin cancer

The health of your skin should be taken serious since it is the largest organ and is exposed to many different elements. Dermatologists suggest these tips to help you take care of your skin.

1.    Stay out of tanning salons. The use of tanning beds has become a popular thing to do to get a nice glowing summer tan. However they are very dangerous. The lights in the beds are 2-5 times stronger than the natural sunlight. The UVA radiation in these lights cause sunburns, premature aging and skin cancer.

2.    Monitor your sun exposure. The sun’s UV rays are at its peak between 11AM and 4PM. The shorter your shadow is the harsher the sun is for your skin.

3.    Seek shade. If you must be outside look for shade to stand under. You may want to wear a hat will a large brim or bill to shade you face. Wearing long sleeves and pants will help protect your skin while exposed to the sun. Another thing to remember – just because its cloudy does not mean you are protected from the sun’s rays. About 80% of the rays can penetrate through the clouds.

4.    Use sunscreen. The more you apply sunscreen the better. Apply a thick coat about 15-30 minutes before you go outside and reapply every two hours while in the sun.

5.    Beware of reflections. Be cautious of things that can reflect the sun’s rays. Things like water, sand, snow and concrete can reflect about 80% of the damaging rays.

With summer approaching, the people of Dallas will be heading out to Lake Ray Hubbard for some fun – remember to limit yourself to the sun and lather yourself with sunscreen. George Wooming, M.D is here to help you protect yourself.