Although there’s no sure way to prevent skin cancer, following these useful tips can help lower your risk of developing this disease.
Every year, more people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer than all other cancers combined, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation. Do your best to avoid falling into that statistic with these ten common ways to prevent skin cancer.
1. Check UV reports
Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is the most common cause of melanoma — the deadliest form of skin cancer. Before you head outside each day, check your area’s UV reports. These show how strong the sunlight will be, using a scale from 1 to 10. The higher the UV rating is, the more sun-protection steps you should take.
2. Reapply sunscreen frequently
It’s important to put on sunscreen about 30 minutes before you head outside. It’s equally important to reapply this lotion while you’re outdoors. Sunscreen can stop working after you put it on. And, sweat and water can wash it away. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours you’re outdoors and every hour if you’re swimming or sweating.
3. Be safe by water, snow and sand
Snow, water and sand reflect sunlight. This can increase your chances of getting a sunburn. Keep your skin covered, and wear sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes from bright glares in these terrains.
4. Do regular self-exams
Once a month, check for new or changing spots on your skin. Look at the front and back of your body in a mirror. Bend your elbows and check your forearms, palms, armpits and fingers. Look at the backs of your legs, your toes and the soles of your feet. Use a handheld mirror to check the back of your neck and your scalp. Let your doctor know about any changes you notice.
5. Give up the tanning bed
Just like sunlight can, UV light from a tanning bed may also cause skin cancer, according to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention. Use a sunless tanning lotion instead to get a golden glow.
6. Hang out in the shade
Head indoors when the sun’s rays are strongest — between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sunlight can cause more damage to your skin during these hours. If you’ll be outside, stay in the shade. Wear protective clothing, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen, too.
7. Check your cosmetics
Like sunscreen, some makeup and skincare products have SPF ingredients in them. However, using them alone usually doesn’t provide enough sun protection. Pair these products with sunscreen if they have SPF ratings below 15.
8. Watch out for windows
Even if you’re indoors during the brightest times of the day, sit away from the windows. Many home windows don’t block UV light. That means it can still damage your skin through the glass.
9. Visit your doctor regularly
The earlier your doctor finds skin cancer, the easier it is to treat. Visit a dermatologist at least once a year for a skin checkup. A dermatologist is a type of doctor who can diagnose and treat skin disorders. At your checkup, your dermatologist looks at your skin from head to toe to see if you have any troublesome spots.
10. Stay sun smart
Following just one of these helpful tips is a great way to lower your risk of getting skin cancer. But the more steps you take, the better your chances are at keeping your skin healthy.
Early detection is one of the best ways to prevent skin cancer. Visit mercy.com to make an appointment with a specialist and discuss more important ways to prevent and identify skin cancer.
Interested in more stories like this? Our Summer Survival Guide is full of healthy living tips to start your summer right. Learn more here.