May is skin cancer awareness month. While protecting your skin should be an every day priority, it's good to pay special attention during this month. Want to know how you can celebrate skin cancer awareness month? Here are a few ideas.
Wearing sunscreen is one of the simplest and most effective steps you can take to protect your skin from cancer. And it should be worn every day. It might not seem like you need sunscreen when it's cloudy outside, but UVA and UVB rays can still penetrate cloud cover. That means you're still at risk. Make sure you're applying sunscreen properly, too. You should apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you leave the house and apply more than one coat for the fullest protection. In addition, make sure you're reapplying throughout the day if you're spending hours and hours outside. Reapplying every three hours or so is a good strategy.
You might like the idea of a summer glow, but a tanning bed definitely isn't the way to go about getting it. Tanning beds have been directly linked to the development of skin cancer, which means the best way to protect yourself is to avoid them altogether. In fact, avoid tanning of any kind that involves exposure to UV rays. In addition to being linked to early signs of skin cancer, tanning can cause premature skin aging and a leathery skin texture if you're not careful. If you really want that sunkissed summer glow on your skin, it's best to use a tinted moisturizer or a self-tanning cream. If you're not sure what product is best for your skin, don't hesitate to consult with your dermatologist.
Wearing protective clothing while you're outside doesn't have to mean bundling up just to step out in the sun. Rather, it means protecting as much of your skin as possible in a smart way. For instance, wearing a wide-brimmed hat will cover much of your neck, chest, and shoulders so you don't have to wear a long-sleeved shirt to the beach. Though if you remember, it's always a good idea to bring a long-sleeved coverup of some kind with you when you go outside. If you can, make the investment in clothing with a UPF label, which signifies that it's not only fashionable but functional as well. Protecting your skin from sun damage and a skin cancer diagnosis can really be that easy.
If you have a family history of skin cancer or you're in a high-risk group for developing certain types of skin cancer, it's a good idea to invest in regular skin cancer screenings. Even if you're not in a high-risk group, investing your time in yearly skin cancer screenings can help alert you to early signs of skin cancer that you couldn't have detected at home. Either way, it's best to trust your dermatologist to spot warning signs of skin cancer during a screening.
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. If you have concerns about skin cancer or want to book a skin cancer screening, contact our team at North Pacific Dermatology to set up an appointment today.