About 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day in the United States, making it the most common form of cancer. And while there’s no sure way to completely avoid it, you can take steps to greatly lower your risk.
At the practice of Ali Hendi, MD, in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Dr. Hendi and our team of skin cancer experts offer visual exams to check for signs of skin cancer, so you can get any treatment you need as soon as possible.
Take a few minutes to learn five ways to help keep from getting skin cancer.
1. Avoid the sun during peak times
Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun permeate the skin and can damage cells in your skin, making way for sun damage and skin cancer. But not all sun exposure is equally risky.
When possible, avoid direct UV exposure when the sun’s rays are their strongest. In the continental United States, that's typically from 10am-4pm.
2. Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen daily
No matter the time of year, wearing sunscreen is a smart way to protect your skin from sun damage. Look for the “broad-spectrum” label to make sure you’re protected from both UVA and UVB rays. While UVA rays prematurely age your skin, UVB rays fuel sunburn.
And both types can lead to skin cancer. Furthermore, aim for an SPF (sun protection factor) rating of 15 or higher.
3. Seek the shade
When you’re out in the sun and it’s been a while since you’ve applied sunscreen, or you forgot to apply it at all, shade could be your best friend. Find a shady spot beside a tree or building, or bring your own shade. An umbrella or wide-brimmed hat should do the trick.
4. Step away from tanning
Many people prefer to have a bronzy glow to their skin, but it can come at a cost to your health. In fact, just one tanning bed session can raise your risk of developing skin cancer. Your risk of developing melanoma, the most dangerous type, can increase by 20% from a single session. And your risk of developing basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma can spike by 67% or 29% respectively.
If you want the color of a sun tan without those risks, consider a sunless tanning spray.
5. Protect your lips and eyes
Your lips and eyes contain delicate tissues that can easily develop cancer without proper care. To lower these risks, wear wrap-around sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. At the same time, apply an SPF-containing lip balm daily. Not only will that lip balm help stave off skin cancer, but it’ll help prevent dehydration and common signs of aging.
Lastly, don’t forget to schedule your routine skin exams, especially if you have risk factors for skin cancer, such as a family history of the disease, a history of tanning or sunburns, or having light-colored hair or skin.
To learn more about skin cancer prevention or to get the care you need, call 301-812-4591 or book an appointment online with the practice of Ali Hendi, MD, today.