The weather is warming up, which means you’ll probably be spending more time outdoors soaking in the sun. With skin cancer being the most common type of cancer in the United States, it’s important to take the necessary precautions when out in the sun! In states where it’s sunny year-round, exposure is hard to avoid, but there are a lot of things you can still do to protect yourself from skin cancer.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, experiencing just one blistering sunburn can nearly double your chance of developing melanoma! But a healthy amount of sunlight equips the body with vitamin D and boosts our serotonin levels, so it’s not something you want to avoid completely. Limiting your exposure and using the proper sunscreen can help prevent damage from the sun. You should take extra precaution between the hours of 10AM and 4PM when the sun is at its strongest.
Use Sunscreen Properly
Using sunscreen is an obvious answer to protecting your skin, but a lot of individuals don’t use it properly. Make sure you buy sunscreen that is SPF15 or higher. The number represents how many times longer you can go without burning. So, if you would normally burn in ten minutes, an SPF15 should protect you for 150 minutes. A lot of individuals make the mistake of forgetting to reapply! It is recommended to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before exposure, and again every two hours.
Examine Your Skin
If you’ve already been exposed to the sun or know you have a family or personal history of skin cancer, it is important to examine your skin regularly for any signs of cancerous spots. Following the ABCDEs of melanoma can help you detect the deadliest form of skin cancer. The signs include Asymmetry, irregular Border, uneven Color, large Diameter, and Evolution (changes in appearance). Any warning signs should be examined by a dermatologist. Your dermatologist in Farmington can also perform a full body examine to check areas you can’t easily see.