Lawrence A. Schiffman, D.O., FAOCD - Board Certified Dermatologist

Lawrence A. Schiffman, D.O., FAOCD - Board Certified Dermatologist


An Ounce of Prevention: 8 Ways to Prevent Skin Cancer

Published January 20th, 2020 by Thepracticeagency

We all want healthy, glowing skin, that is free of sun damage, many of us also love the sun. The warm feeling on your skin combined with the energy it gives us. It’s no surprise that people love being outdoors, enjoying a warm, sunny day.

Unfortunately, the sun can also cause harmful skin damage and even skin cancer if we aren’t careful.

While it isn’t always possible to prevent cancer, there are certain sun precautions we can take and prevention methods that can keep damage to a minimum while soaking up the sun.

This guide has eight ways to prevent skin cancer and still be able to enjoy the outdoors.

Apply Sunscreen

While no one can say for certain how to prevent skin cancer completely, doctors can say with certainty that applying sunscreen is a must when you are spending time in the sun,

Applying sunscreen doesn’t just mean putting a little on in the morning before going out into the sun either.

In order to keep your skin safe from harmful sun damage and sunburn, you need to apply at least one ounce of sunscreen to fully cover yourself about 15 minutes before going outside to be properly protected according to the American Academy of Dermatology

You also need to reapply sunscreen every two hours. Don’t forget to put it on again after sweating or getting out of the water as well.

Always try and use a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher as well. Remember to apply sunscreen to the top of your feet, your head, neck, and your ears. The back of your hands tends to get forgotten as well.

Wear Protective Clothing

When you’re outdoors and in the sun, wearing protective clothing is a must. Wearing protective clothing can help you keep the sun off of your arms, legs, and face. Protective clothing includes rash guards with UV protection, hats, long sleeves, pants, and sunglasses.

If you will be outdoors walking, hiking, or running, even if it is hot out, you’ll want to cover your skin in a breathable material that will protect you from the sun’s harmful rays.

Wear sunglasses as well to protect your eyes. If your feet will be exposed, cover those with closed-toed shoes when hiking to avoid a painful sunburn on your feet.

Stick to the Shade

When you’re planning on being outdoors and in the sun, try and seek some shelter from the sun when you can. If shade is available, take it at least part of the time.

If you’re looking to hit the pool or the beach, try and bring an umbrella or use one if they are available.

Being in the shade means you’re covered from being directly in the sun and the shade will keep you better protected.

Wear a Hat

Hats can do wonders to protect you from the sun. Not only will a hat protect your eyes but it will also protect your scalp and your face.

Men especially are prone to sunburn on the top of their heads and back of their necks if they don’t have hair to protect them.

When you’re out in the sun, wear a protective hat that has a wide enough brim to keep your face and neck covered.

Avoid Tanning Beds

Tanning beds are just asking for trouble. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, there is absolutely nothing safe about tanning. 

In fact, just one visit to a tanning bed increases your risk for melanoma by 75% before the age of 35. No tan is worth that percentage. Stick to lotions, sprays, and make-up for a sun-kissed look without the risk for cancer.

Don’t Get a Sunburn

Getting sunburn is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. To avoid getting a sunburn, make sure you wear sunscreen and always reapply. Wear a hat, try and get some shade and wear protective clothing when you can.

Once you are sunburnt the damage is already done and it will be too late. You'll want to see a doctor if you're suffering from a serious sunburn. 

Remember to Protect Your Lips

Skin cancer can also start to form on your mouth and lips. To protect yourself from getting skin cancer on your lips, apply chapstick, lip balm, or lipstick that has sunscreen.

Look for a lip product that has an SPF of 15 or higher for the best protection. Make sure you always reply as well and carry it with you on days at the pool or hiking in the sun.

Keep Newborns and Kids out of the Sun

Kids, babies, and especially newborns should be kept out of direct sunlight. While you’re not going to keep your five-year-old out of the sun, your five-day-old should never be exposed to direct sunlight.

To help keep your little ones protected, make sure you cover them in sunscreen and reply often. Every time your kiddo gets out of the water, lather them up again.

If possible, keep your kids under an umbrella or in the shade. Make sure your kids and babies wear hats in the sun and protective clothing whenever possible.

Swimsuits with built-in rash guards are extremely helpful in protecting your kids. There are also rash guard shirts that can be worn over swimsuits.

Ways to Prevent Skin Cancer

Knowing how to prevent skin cancer is the first step to reducing your risk. While the sun is a vital mood and energy booster, spending too much time out in the sun without protection can be dangerous.

Make sure to get your annual skin cancer screening to test for damage and signs of skin cancer each year. 

Knowing how to avoid skin cancer and how to prevent melanoma starts with sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen and making sure you reapply is key.

From there, staying in the shade and wearing a hat, protective clothing, and lip protection can go a long way to helping protect your body, eyes, and lips.

If you’d like to speak with a professional board-certified dermatologist about skin damage, or any concerning skin condition, book an appointment online to help keep you and your skin healthy and protected.

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