Ways to prevent developing skin cancer

Many of us are making our summer plans right about now, whether it’s a relaxing beach vacation, or lazy Sundays spent in the backyard. Regardless of where you go or what you do, skin cancer is something that should be on your mind (year-round, for that matter!). The prevention of skin cancer has a lot to do with your awareness of how to care for your skin and the actions you take.

Albemarle Square Family Healthcare is the practice to call when you’re in search of Charlottesville doctors. Our family medical practice believes in whole family health, from birth through the geriatric years. When you need a skin cancer check, give us a call today!

Here are some steps you can take to help prevent skin cancer.

Apply Sunblock

Applying a sunblock with an SPF of 30 or higher, and that covers UVA and UVB rays, and that’s labeled as broad spectrum, is the first step. Make sure that the sunblock you use is new, as it can expire and become less effective over time. Also be sure to apply enough—2 tablespoons is enough for the entire body. Even if you wear makeup with an SPF in it, it’s not enough to protect your skin throughout the day. Finally, if you’re swimming or outdoors for several hours, you will need to reapply it every hour or two.

Wear a Hat and Sunglasses

Another layer of protection is to create shade on your face and over your eyes. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat will help! The advantage of a wide-brimmed hat is that it will also provide protection for your ears, head, and neck. While a ball cap can protect the front of your face, your ears and neck are exposed.

Wear Lightweight Clothes

In the summertime, it might feel like a bit much to wear long sleeves and pants. That said, you can find lightweight materials that will keep you cool and that are breathable. If you work outside or are golfing, protective clothing is an excellent choice, in addition to sunblock.

Avoid Certain Daylight Hours

In the United States, the hours of 10am–4pm are the brightest hours of the day, and UV exposure is at its most dangerous. If it’s at all possible, try to stay indoors or under the shade during these times of day. If you must be outdoors, be sure to take as many preventative measures as possible.

Avoid Tanning Beds

Many believe that when they gradually tan before summertime that they won’t be as much at risk for sunburn or skin cancer. This is completely untrue. Tanning beds emit ultraviolet radiation that damages skin cells and can cause premature aging as well as skin cancer. If you need a little color, try self-tanner or have an airbrush tan applied instead!

Get a Skin Cancer Check at Least Once a Year

You should certainly keep an eye on your skin for new spots, or at existing moles and spots to check for changes. That said, having a family medical care provider take a look is critical. Your doctor can not only look at places on your body that you can’t see, but they know what to look for, exactly, and can keep a record of the size, shape, color, and any changes they observe.

Sun damage can occur year-round, so taking precautions throughout the year is important to skin cancer prevention. The time to schedule your skin cancer check is now. If you’re wondering if that spot you’ve noticed is just a freckle or if it’s melanoma, your physician or nurse practitioner can check it out for you.  Call Albemarle Square Family Healthcare today to learn more!