avoiding skin cancer

Best Ways to Avoid Skin Cancer

The current acting U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Boris Lushniak, recently called the alarming rise in skin cancer a major health problem that requires immediate action. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, skin cancer rates have risen 200 percent between 1973 and 2011. More than 9,000 people in the U.S. die of melanoma skin cancer every year. If you want to keep yourself and your family from being the next statistics, check out these tips for avoiding skin cancer.

Sun Savvy

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 90 percent of all skin cancers are caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. In addition, sun damage leads to signs of aging, like the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin. To guard against skin cancer and maintain your youthful appearance, protect your skin from harmful UV rays every day. The sun’s rays are the strongest during the middle of the day – between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. – so seek shade whenever possible if you need to be outdoors during those times.

Protective Gear

Protection from the sun is a must every day. Most skin experts recommend a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or 30 daily, even if the sun is hidden behind clouds. If you will be spending a significant amount of time outdoors, a hat and long sleeves and pants will protect your skin even more. Some clothing now has an SPF included so you know the garment will provide you with the protection you need.

Proper Application

Using sunscreen is not enough to keep skin cancer at bay. These products must be used properly to provide maximum protection from UV rays. Sunscreen should be applied liberally to all exposed areas of skin at least 30 minutes before heading outside. If you are outside for a number of hours reapply protection every two hours – more often if you are in the water.

Know Your Risks

Some skin treatments and medications can make your skin more vulnerable to sun damage. Ask your physician about medications you are currently taking to determine whether you need extra protection. Topical medications can also be a concern, especially those that contain retinol. You should also be careful to avoid sun exposure after exfoliating treatments like chemical peels or microdermabrasion.

Skin cancer is a major health problem in the U.S. today, according to the U.S. surgeon general. By following these tips, you can reduce your risk and keep your skin healthy and beautiful. For more information about skin cancer or skin cancer prevention, contact Dr. Dilip Madnani at 212-203-8591.