May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and it is a great time to raise awareness and educate yourself and your loved ones about skin cancer and best practices for prevention. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer; however, it is also the most preventable.
There are many simple adjustments you can make in your daily life which will help not only prevent skin cancer, but also help with aging, dryness, and improving your skin’s overall health.
Use a daily sunscreen. Even under makeup and on cloudy days, it is recommended to use sunscreen daily to prevent any sun damage. Wearing an SPF of 15 or higher on a normal day, or SPF 30 or higher on a day with extended sun exposure is best. Protection from UV radiation is important all year long.
Seek shade. Even when wearing sunscreen, it is best to stay out of the sun between 10 am-4 pm, the hours that the sun is strongest. We also recommend wearing hats and sunglass for even more protection. If you have fair skin, keep your skin covered in the direct sun to avoid sunburn.
Avoid tanning. Avoid tanning in the sun, and never use UV tanning beds. The risk of someone developing melanoma increases by 75% if they begin using UV tanning beds before age 35. Not only does tanning increase the chances of developing skin cancer, it also causes the skin to lose elasticity and wrinkle prematurely.
Check your skin. Check your skin at least once a month for any suspicious moles or new freckles. Be sure to check areas you may easily miss, such as your underarms, between toes, your neck or scalp. Some characteristics of moles that may be cause for concern include those that are asymmetrical, more than one color, are raised, or have an irregular border. Another factor is size. Most, but not all melanomas are usually over 6 mm in diameter. We recommend making an annual appointment with a licensed dermatologist for a full body scan to detect any moles or lesions that look suspicious.
Keep your skin clean and hydrated. Use a daily cleanser that works best for your skin type, as well as a moisturizer and a serum, such as a vitamin C serum. Using a vitamin C serum regularly can help repair your skin from sun damage.
The skin is the body’s largest organ, working 24/7 to protect us from our environment. It is essential for us to prioritize our skincare and take the necessary steps to keep our skin healthy.