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. The most common types of skin cancer are:

1.    Basal cell carcinoma. This particular skin cancer is the least dangerous and is the most common. It is commonly found on the face, scalp, chest, and arms and can appear as a flesh-colored round growth, pink bump, or shiny patch of skin.

2.    Squamous cell carcinoma. This is the 2nd most common form of skin cancer, and it often appears as a red scaly bump that won’t heal, overtime they can grow deep into the skin, causing damage and disfigurement.

3.    Malignant melanoma. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer because it has a potential to metastasize. This may appear as a dark, irregularly shaped spot on the skin. Early detection and treatment are crucial.

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. Always use an SPF 30 or higher.

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.