Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, affecting over 3.3 million Americans--sometimes more than once in a lifetime. Prevention and early detection are the best ways to ensure that your skin stays cancer-free, and treatment is frequently successful when cancer is caught early. Below are some ways you can care for your skin throughout your daily life to keep it looking and feeling healthy. Learn more about skin cancer from your dermatologist in Pasadena and Houston, TX.
Apply appropriate sunscreen. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 for everyday use, and at least 30 for prolonged outdoor activities. Even if you aren't outside long enough to burn, repeated sun exposure still affects your skin health.
Wear protective clothing and gear. Pay special attention to protecting your face, neck, and arms--the areas that are most frequently exposed to the sun. Wide-brimmed hats, UV-blocking glasses, and lightweight long sleeves will further protect you on those hot summer days.
Don’t let yourself burn. The jury is still out on exactly how much a single sunburn affects your risk of skin cancer, but evidence suggests that one bad burn as a child increases your risk of skin cancer as an adult by 50%. Don't skimp on protecting yourself when you're going to be out in the sun for a while.
Use mirrors to check your skin at home. Every month or so, use a full-length mirror along with a hand mirror or two to check over every inch of your skin. Don’t forget to check behind your ears, under your arms, your buttocks and back, and under every fold of skin.
Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds expose your skin to two harmful types of rays: UVA and UVB. Tanning before the age of 35 increases your risk of melanoma (the deadliest skin cancer) by 59%, and the risk increases with each use even if you never burn. People seek out tanning beds to give them a "healthy glow", but there's nothing healthy about the damage to your skin signified by that tan.
Relax in the shade. Whenever possible, find a shady spot to relax when you’re spending time outside. Keep using sunscreen and protective clothing anyway, since your skin is still exposed to ultraviolet rays. However, staying out of the direct sunlight will prevent the most intense exposure.
Visit your dermatologist. All the above tactics dramatically reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, but the most thorough prevention is to get checked by a dermatologist on an annual basis. Their job is to notice the small things that you might not see, and it could mean the difference between life and death.
Skin Cancer Screening in Pasadena and Houston, TX
As the most common type of cancer, skin cancer claims thousands of lives each year. But with early detection and timely treatment, it doesn't have to. For a skin cancer screening in Pasadena and Houston, TX, request your appointment at Southeast Dermatology or call today.