Taos, New Mexico
Do you worry about skin cancer, does skin cancer run in your family, or have you found pre-cancerous spots or lesions on your skin before? No matter what your story is, here’s everything you need to know about skin cancer.
Up to 90% of skin cancer is actually preventable. That’s because it is related to UV exposure. The most common place where people get UV exposure is from the sun. When you lay out, tan, or burn, you expose your skin to unnecessary ultraviolet radiation. This radiation can change the structure of cells in your skin. Over time these cells can replicate and can become different forms of cancer. If you simply limit your sun exposure, you stand a much lower chance of getting skin cancer.
This means staying out of the sun. It’s especially important to stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. These are the hours where the sun’s rays strike the Earth most directly. You will get more UV radiation exposure during these hours than you will if you’re outside during other times of the day.
Most of us cannot just stay inside all day, every day. When you must be outside between 10 and 4, be sensible. Do everything you can to make sure that you don’t burn. Cover up your body. This includes wearing long-sleeved clothing, long pants, broad-brimmed hats, and even sunglasses that block UV rays. These items may seem like overkill, but they do keep you from being exposed to the sun.
You should wear sunscreen every day. Make sure that your sunscreen has a broad spectrum and an SPF of 15 or higher. If you’re going to do an outdoor activity, make sure that your sunscreen resists water and carries an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply your sunscreen before you go outside, and then reapply it every 2 hours. You also want to reapply it after you swim or exercise to the point where you sweat. Even water-resistant sunscreen cannot be trusted after these activities.
You will also want to check your skin yourself every so often. Go over your body and see if you have any new spots or spots that have changed. If you have areas that you’re concerned about, you can take a picture of them so that you can check and see how much they are changing over time. If anything changes a lot, go see a doctor right away. After all, you don’t want to miss something just because you didn’t want to go to the doctor.