With summer just around the corner, many of us are eagerly looking forward to spending more time outdoors, basking in the warm sunshine. But as much as we enjoy soaking up those rays, it’s essential to remember that excessive sun exposure can have severe consequences for skin health. Sun exposure is one of the leading causes of skin cancer, so it’s important to take steps to protect your skin. To protect yourself from sun damage and reduce the risk of developing skin cancer, follow these tips for sun protection and skin cancer prevention.
How Does Sun Exposure Cause Skin Cancer?
Sun exposure is one of the primary causes of skin cancer due to radiation from ultraviolet (UV) rays. When we are exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, it can penetrate the skin and cause damage to the DNA in our skin cells. In addition to tans and sunburns, this can cause skin cells to mutate and become cancerous.
Should I Avoid Going Out in the Sun?
Not all sun exposure is equal when it comes to skin cancer risk. The intensity of UV radiation varies depending on factors such as time of day, altitude, and cloud cover. Individual risk factors such as having fair skin or being over age 50 also affect how susceptible your skin is to damage. It’s important to note that there are also many health benefits to enjoying sun exposure, including Vitamin D, fresh air, and stress reduction. Preventive measures and sun protection can help you enjoy the benefits of sun exposure while minimizing your risk of skin cancer.
What is the Best Way to Protect Skin from Sun Exposure?
To minimize the risk of skin cancer, it’s essential to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Here are the best tried-and-true strategies for keeping you safe and cancer free:
- Wear sunscreen: Even on cloudy days, you should wear broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30. Cover all exposed skin with sunscreen and reapply every two hours, or more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating.
- Avoid peak sun times: The sun’s rays are harshest between 10am and 4pm. Wherever possible, seek shade during these hours and keep sun exposure to mornings and evenings.
- Wear protective clothing: Hats, sunglasses, long sleeves, pants, etc. are a great way to shield your skin from the sun. Bear in mind that thin fabrics can still let in sunlight, so you still may want to employ other protective measures.
- Take breaks: If you find yourself outdoors for a long time, take a break from the sun every so often by either seeking shade or going inside.
- Check your skin: Self-examine your skin regularly to look for any new or changing spots, moles, or lesions. If you notice anything unusual, consult a dermatologist.
- Get an annual skin exam: Preventing skin cancer requires a comprehensive approach and should involve annual skin exams with a dermatologist. Our dermatologists can help detect any potential skin cancer early on when it is most treatable.
Here at Medovate Dermatology, we offer Total Body Photography and mole mapping with DermEngine. TBP harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver smarter skin checks with a full virtual 3D body map. With annual checkups, any suspicious or precancerous lesions can quickly be identified so that you can get treatment right away. It’s the best and safest way to keep your skin healthy and prevent skin cancer from going undetected.
To schedule your annual skin exam, call Medovate Dermatology at 847.499.5500.