Six Tips to Reduce Your Chances of Skin Cancer

Dr. Marc-André Doré

Friday, August 5, 2022

Skin care is more than just face masks and the perfect moisturizer. While pampering your skin during a self-care day is important, you should also protect your skin from harmful environments. One of the most vital parts of skin care is protection from the sun. UV radiation is extremely dangerous and can affect your skin in numerous ways, including premature aging, skin spots, and skin cancer.

Unfortunately, too many people think they're being cautious when they're not. UV radiation can affect your skin even if you don't lay out and tan or spend the entire day at the beach. Daily protection is important, even if you're simply walking the dog, running errands, or playing with the kids at the park. Below, you'll find a few easy ways to protect your skin from sun damage. 

Stay in the Shade

If you go outside, it's important to seek shady areas to help minimize the amount of sun exposure you subject yourself to. It's especially important to seek shade between the hours of 10AM and 4PM. Direct sunlight, especially during the afternoon, should be limited or avoided as much as possible. 

Resist the Urge to Tan

As pretty as tan, glowing skin might be, the effects of tanning simply aren't worth it. When you look at your beautiful tan, what you're really seeing is UV damage and your skin's cry for help. If you continue to tan, the damage builds, and not only will your skin start to become rough and wrinkled prematurely, you also run a high risk of skin cancer. If your heart is set on bronzed skin, use a self tanning lotion instead of sunbathing or going to a tanning salon. 

Add Layers

Even if it's hot, you should cover up as much as possible when you're outdoors. Wear protective clothing on your arms and legs. Shield your eyes with sunglasses, and wear a hat to avoid sunburn on your head. Yes, it can burn through your hair. 

Slather on Sunscreen

Any time you are outside, you should apply sunscreen, even if it's cloudy and overcast. Always use a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of 30 or higher. You should also take care to apply enough sunscreen and remember to reapply often. Most adults need around an ounce of sunscreen to properly coat their bodies, and you should reapply every two hours, after swimming, and after excessive sweating. 

Check Your Body

You should check your skin about once a month to make sure you don't notice any new spots or changing moles. If you do notice something suspicious, it's important that you see your dermatologist as soon as possible to get it checked out. Skin cancer is usually treatable if found early. 

Know Your Risk Factors

While everyone can experience sun damage, certain attributes put people at a higher risk. If you have any of the following, be extremely cautious when venturing outside.

  • Light colored skin. 

  • Skin cancer in your family history.

  • A personal history of sunburns. This is especially true if they occurred when you were younger. 

  • Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily or becomes painful in the sun.

  • Light colored eyes, such as blue or green. 

  • Several moles on your body.

It's only natural to want to enjoy beautiful summer days at the beach or on the lake, and taking your dog for a hike is a great way to get exercise and bond with your pup. But if you engage in these activities, do so with caution; take the necessary steps to protect yourself and keep your skin healthy and youthful for years to come.

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