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5 Important Steps to Prevent Skin Cancer

skin cancer, sunscreen, sun, rays, protection, tanning

Skin cancer develops when abnormal skin cells grow uncontrollably. It happens when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells leads to genetic mutations or genetic defects, which cause the skin cells to multiply and form cancerous tumors. Damage from the ultraviolet (UV) rays is the primary cause of this damage, although other factors, such as genetics, can raise your risk. In addition to avoiding tanning beds, there’s a lot you can to do lower your risk for the disease, which also benefits your skin health in general.

Consider the following ways to prevent skin cancer. Call Z-ROC Dermatology or book an appointment using our online scheduler to learn more.

1. Use broad spectrum sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection

UVA and UVB are different types of sun rays that require different protection from a sunscreen ingredient standpoint. Typically they contain at least three active ingredients: PABA derivatives such as salicylates; cinnamates; and benzophenones, such as oxybenzone and sulisobenzone.

Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day you spend any time outdoors. Many moisturizers and after-shave lotions contain SPF 15 sunscreen, and suffice for everyday activities — meaning you spend a bit of time in the sun occasionally, versus hours on the beach. For longer periods of sun exposure, choose a product with an SPF of 30 or higher.

2. Apply sunscreen properly

Sunscreen doesn’t work to protect your skin immediately. To account for this, apply about 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of the product about 30 minutes before going out into the sun. Make sure you apply it to any skin area that will be exposed, including the tops and backs of your ears. Then reapply sunscreen as needed, or after about two hours in the sun.

3. Seek out shade

Even when using sunscreen, the sun can have a negative impact on your skin and raise your risk for skin cancer. Whenever you’re outdoors, stand in shady areas when possible. You can also provide your own shade by wearing a wide-brimmed hat or holding an open umbrella. Other types of clothing, such as long pants and long-sleeved shirts, can also shade your skin.

4. Conduct your own skin exams regularly

Knowing your skin is important for picking up on abnormalities, such as an odd-looking mole or mark that changes colors or shape. Examine your face, particularly your ears, mouth, lips, and nose, using a mirror for a clear view. To look at your scalp, inspect the skin while blow-drying your hair. You should also check your hands, torso, legs, and back carefully with the help of a mirror.

5. See a dermatologist at least once a year

Many people know to schedule annual exam with their primary care physician, but seeing your dermatologist each year is equally important. The full-body skin exam can help detect early warning signs of skin cancer that are easy to miss, increasing your odds of effective treatment and survival. You should also make an appointment any time you notice unusual skin symptoms.

Learn more by scheduling an appointment at Z-Roc Dermatology. Our team of experts would love to help keep your skin as healthy and vibrant as possible.

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