Most types of skin cancer are preventable. Direct sun exposure is the number one cause of skin cancer, even if you do not burn. A tan is the body's attempt to protect itself from the sun's harmful rays.
The following areas of the body are most at risk to develop skin cancer: head, neck, face, tips of ears, hands, forearms, backs, shoulders, chest of men and lower legs of women. Risk factors for skin care include fair skin, red or blond hair, light colored-eyes, having moles or freckles, working or playing outside, having a serious sunburn, using a tanning bed and having a family member with skin cancer.
The key to preventing skin cancer is to avoid being in the sun or using sunlamps. Avoid the sun from the hours of 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. because this is when the sun's rays are the strongest. Wear protective clothing, sunglasses and hats while outdoors during these hours. Don't use tanning booths or sunlamps. Wear sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more. For extended outdoor activity, use a water resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater. Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside so that is can be absorbed, and apply more every hour if you're sweating or swimming. Put the sunscreen everywhere the sun's rays may touch.
Information provided by Carin
Bejarno, ARPN, of Grimes Family Physicians.
Article courtesy of Grimes Living magazine.