May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and the experienced dermatologists at Vanguard Dermatology want to remind you about the important things you can do to reduce your risk for skin cancer. They offer comprehensive services to help you protect your skin’s health and help you avoid melanoma and other types of skin damage.
With one in five Americans developing skin cancer, knowing how to protect yourself is the first step in preventive care. Learn more about how you can prevent sun damage and other causes of skin cancer.
There are several ways you can avoid the health complications of skin cancer and provide the care your skin needs to stay in great condition, such as:
There are two types of sunscreen that effectively protect skin exposed to the sun. In either, you should choose one that’s at least SPF 20 or higher and listed as a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
A physical sunscreen contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and settles on the surface of your skin to deflect the damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. The benefit of this type of sunscreen is that it’s safe for all skin types, especially if you have sensitive skin issues.
Chemical sunscreens act like an absorbent sponge. When applied to your skin, it takes in the UV rays to reduce your risk of damage. The ingredients in this type of sunscreen rub easily into the skin without leaving behind a residue and may include:
Whichever sunscreen you use, make sure to apply it all over your skin in generous amounts for full coverage. You should also re-apply frequently throughout the day, especially when swimming or sweating.
Sunscreen should also be worn in every season, even winter, each time you’re out in the sun.
In addition to wearing protective sunscreen, it’s important that you shade your skin with loose-fitting clothing and hats.
When spending a lot of time outdoors, seek out shade from trees or other structures that block the sun. If you’re headed to the beach or pool, take along an umbrella that can provide you with shade, especially in the afternoon when the sun is strongest.
Melanoma, the most aggressive form of cancer, develops in the cells that provide your body with melanin to give your skin its color. The UV rays of the sun are typically responsible for causing most cancerous cells to grow. Your risk for melanoma may also be increased due to your family and personal medical history.
The dermatologists at Vanguard Dermatology offer melanoma screenings to regularly evaluate the health of your skin and pinpoint abnormalities, such as irregular moles, that may indicate cancer. An early diagnosis is often your best defense for successfully treating skin cancer.
During your screening, you’ll receive a head-to-toe exam. Your dermatologist will check all areas of your skin, including those that don’t often receive exposure to the sun. They can also show you how to perform a self-inspection at home for added protection.
In the event abnormal moles or skin patches are discovered during the screening, a biopsy can be done immediately to determine a diagnosis, and your doctor will get started on a treatment plan right away to prevent the spread of cancer.
Melanoma can be life-threatening if left untreated, but with routine cancer screenings and proactive skin care, you can effectively reduce your health risks for skin cancer.
Schedule a melanoma screening today for a comprehensive evaluation with the Vanguard Dermatology team online or by phone.