May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and a great time to brush up on prevention tips to reduce your risk of the most prevalent form of cancer in the United States. Exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning beds damages the epidermis and has a cumulative effect on skin health as we age. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, your risk of developing the most deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma, doubles with a history of five or more sunburns. One in five Americans, inclusive of all skin tones and color, will develop skin cancer by age seventy! Protect yourself and family by developing these healthy habits.
- Seek the shade, especially between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM, when the sun’s ultraviolet rays are strongest.
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF. Most doctors recommend 30 or 50 SPF. Apply 30 minutes prior to going outside and do not forget to reapply every 2 hours (or immediately after swimming or sweating).
- Use the correct amount of sunscreen. Most adults need enough sunscreen to fill a shot glass in order to cover the entire body.
- Examine your skin from head to toe every month.
- See your dermatologist every year for a professional skin exam.
- Avoid tanning and DO NOT utilize tanning beds.