Protecting Yourself from Skin Diseases and Cancers
Excessive exposure of the skin to the sun often leads to the development of skin cancer, which comes about when skin cells grow abnormally. However, it is important to note that this common form of cancer can also develop on areas of the skin that are not typically exposed to the sun.
The most effective way of lowering the risk of developing cancer of the skin is by avoiding or limiting exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Be on the lookout for suspicious changes on your skin. This ensures that the cancer is detected in its early stages. Detecting cancer early ensures the greatest likelihood for successful treatment.
Majority of skin diseases and cancers are preventable. You can protect yourself by adhering to the following tips.
- Avoid exposure to the sun in the middle of the day. For a majority of people in North America, the rays of the sun are strongest between approximately 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. As much as possible, plan for your outdoor activities to be at other times of the day, even when it is cloudy or in winter.
Your skin absorbs UV radiation throughout the year, and clouds do not offer you enough protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Keeping away from the sun at its strongest assists you in avoiding suntans and sunburns that damage your skin, increasing your chances of developing cancer. Accumulated exposure can also cause cancer.
- Wear sunscreen throughout the year. Even though sunscreens may not protect you from all damaging UV radiation, they do play a significant role in generally protecting you from skin cancer.
Broad-spectrum sunscreens with a minimum SPF of 15 are advisable. Apply a generous amount and reapply every two hour; if you’re perspiring or swimming, reapply it more frequently. Use enough sunscreen on all exposed skin, including your neck, the back of your hands, the tips of your ears, and your lips.
- Cover yourself with protective clothing. Sunscreens don’t offer enough protection from the sun’s dangerous UV rays. Therefore, protect your skin with dark clothing that is tightly woven. The clothing should cover your arms and legs. Hats with a broad brim provide more protection than a visor or a baseball cap.
Use can also get photoprotective clothing. Your dermatologist can recommend a good brand. Additionally, you can get sunglasses that protect you from the radiation of both UVA and UVB rays.
- Keep off tanning beds. The lights in these beds emit ultraviolet rays that expose you to high risk of skin diseases and cancers.
- Be wary of medications that are sun-sensitizing. Some common over-the-counter and prescription drugs, such as antibiotics, can increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects of medications you take. If they increase your sun-sensitivity, be extra cautious about staying out in the sun.
- Do regular skin checks and if you notice any suspicious changes, report them to your doctor. Frequently examine your skin for skin growths and changes in existing, birthmarks, bumps, freckles, and moles.