7 Easy Steps to Prevent Melanoma and Skin Damage This Summer
We all know that it’s essential to protect your skin all year round and that it’s especially important to be proactive during the summer when the temperature rises and you’re more likely to enjoy time spent outdoors.
Unfortunately, even with this knowledge, more than 75,000 melanoma diagnoses are expected in 2016, with more than 10,000 cases proving to be fatal. However, there are steps you can take to help lower your risk of getting melanoma and/or other skin cancers.
1. Your sunscreen should be broad-spectrum.
- Sunscreen is best when it offers UVA and UVB protection.
- It should be worn year-round, not just during the summer months.
- It should be reapplied every two hours and applied at least 30 minutes before exposure to the sun.
2. Limit your sun exposure when possible.
- Seek out the shade to limit the amount of UV interaction. Take frequent breaks during trips to the beach, parks, fields, and during other outdoor activities.
3. Cover up.
- Hats, sunglasses, and shirts should be worn when possible.
4. Skip the tanning bed.
- Tanning beds have been linked to an increased risk of melanoma. Contrary to popular belief, tanning beds give off UV rays that can damage your skin in the long term and contribute to different types of skin cancers.
5. Keep an eye on moles and get them checked at least once a year.
- Not all moles are normal. Some may develop due to sun exposure. Any abnormal moles or growths -- defined as ones that grow or change in size, color, or shape -- should be shown to your provider as soon as possible.
6. Avoid peak sun exposure.
- The sun is at its most intense between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. These are the hours of the day when you’re most likely to develop sunburn if you do not properly protect your skin
7. Self-checkups really work.
- Be sure to examine the skin on your face and body from head to toe at least once a month to check for any new moles or other changes that may have developed from sun exposure. Self-checkups also familiarize you with your own skin so you can recognize if something has changed. If you find any abnormal moles or changes to your skin, please contact your provider.