Skin cancer is a form of cancer that impacts the cells of the skin. It is caused by abnormal growth of skin cells due to damage to their DNA from ultraviolet radiation. The prevalence of skin cancer is significant in the United States, with one in five Americans projected to develop the disease at some point in their lives, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.
By following the advice and tips outlined below, you can protect your skin and enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle.
Stay in the shade
Steer clear of direct sunlight, especially between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. When spending time outdoors, seek out shade under trees, umbrellas, or other structures that provide shelter from the sun. Wearing a broad-brimmed hat can also provide added protection for your face, neck, and ears.
Wear protective clothing
Shield your skin from the sun is to wear protective clothing. Look for clothing made from tightly woven fabrics that block the sun's harmful UV rays. Long-sleeved shirts, pants, and skirts are also good options, as they cover more skin and provide greater protection. Some clothing brands even offer specialized sun-protective clothing, which can be especially helpful for outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and gardening.
Apply sunscreen daily
Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30, and apply it generously to all exposed skin. Reapply every two hours, or more often if you are swimming, sweating, or toweling off. Remember to safeguard your lips using a lip balm that also comprises of sunscreen.
Avoid tanning beds
Many people believe that indoor tanning is a safe alternative to natural sunlight. However, the UV radiation emitted by tanning beds can be just as harmful as the sun's rays. In fact, indoor tanning increases your risk of developing skin cancer, including deadly melanoma, by up to 75 percent. If you want a golden glow, consider using a sunless tanning lotion or spray instead.
Perform regular skin checks
It's important to perform regular skin checks to identify any changes or irregularities on your skin. Examine your skin from head to toe every month, looking for new moles, freckles, or other growths, as well as changes to existing ones. If you notice any changes, such as a mole that has grown or changed color, consult your dermatologist right away. Early detection and treatment are critical for successfully treating skin cancer.
By following these tips and guidelines, you can take control of your skin health and reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.