Tips that may help prevent skin cancer
If you want to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, experts say the first step is to decrease your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light by avoiding direct sunlight and tanning beds. If you must be outside, try to avoid the midday sun, stay in the shade when possible and wear sunscreen, long sleeves and a wide hat for added protection. For your convenience, you may want to keep this list of tips handy:
- Limit your exposure to the sun, especially from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun is typically strongest. Seek shade if you are outside. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, UV-blocking sunglasses and long sleeves and pants.
- Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher if you plan to be outside longer than 20 minutes. The sunscreen should be water resistant and protect against UVA and UVB rays. Reapply regularly, especially after sweating or getting out of the water.
- Check other products for SPF numbers, too, not just your sunscreen. The labels on some makeup, clothing (especially hats) and beach accessories, such as tents and umbrellas, include SPF numbers as part of their produce information.
- Wear sunglasses that protect the eyes from UVA and UVB rays.
- Don't burn! Sunburns, especially on children, have been linked to an increased risk of developing melanoma later in life.
- Avoid tanning booths and beds that use concentrated UV light. The risks are so great that several states prohibit and some countries limit and prohibit the use of tanning beds, especially for teens.
- Examine your skin for suspicious spots every month and see a dermatologist for skin checks once a year.