Melanoma Awareness Month may be coming to a close, but skin cancer prevention doesn’t stop here. When it comes to skin care, our Medford, OR, patients know nothing is as important as protecting yourself from UV rays, the leading cause of skin cancer.
In this blog, we’re sharing 5 things you can do today to set yourself up for a lifetime of healthy skin, from investing in the right SPF to understanding the UV index and more.
Schedule a Full-Body Skin Exam
One of the most effective ways to catch any signs of skin cancer early is to schedule an annual skin exam. While we may think we’re aware of spots and changes to our skin, we can’t see them all ourselves, and we certainly can’t see them with a dermatologist’s eye.
Annual skin exams let your provider find any possible concerns as early as possible. Early detection improves your chances of treating them in the precancerous stage with minimally invasive options such as photodynamic therapy.
Between visits, call your dermatologist if you notice moles with any of the ABCDEs of melanoma:
- Asymmetry: Irregular shaping
- Border: Scalloped or poorly defined borders
- Color: Varying colors from one area to the next
- Diameter: Larger than the size of a pencil eraser
- Evolving: Changing in shape, size, or color over time
Learn more about the importance of skin cancer screenings in this blog post.
Invest in a Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen and Wear It Daily
If there’s one skincare tip you should never skip, it’s wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every single day. If you’re spending a lot of the time in the sun, especially if you’re in or near water, you’ll likely need to reapply throughout the day to make sure you’re getting all the coverage you need.
A few of our favorites, which you can purchase at The Clinic for Dermatology & Wellness:
Cover Up Before You Enjoy the Outdoors
The more you can cover your skin before stepping outside, the better. Sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats should always have a place in your summer tote. For even more protection, try UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) clothing, which has been tested for its ability to block unwanted rays.
Cancel Your Tanning Bed Appointment
Tanning beds increase your risk of melanoma by 75%, according to the Melanoma Research Alliance. There is no such thing as a “safe” tan, other than sprays, lotions, or other “faux tan” alternatives. Any UV exposure increases your risk of skin cancer.
Because tanning beds are designed to deliver concentrated UV rays to every part of your body at once, they’re even more dangerous than day-to-day sun exposure. If you’re a regular tanning bed user, make a resolution to quit. Your skin will thank you!
Keep an Eye on the UV Index
The UV index tells us how strong the sun’s rays are at any given moment. There are some patterns to be aware of—rays are always strongest from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., for example. But the index also fluctuates from day to day. You can check the UV index for your area on the EPA’s website.
If you have questions about skin cancer prevention, please contact us online or give us a call at 5412002777. We’re happy to answer any questions and get you started on a lifelong journey of healthy and cancer-free skin.