Are you at risk for getting skin cancer?
Protecting your skin from the sun’s damaging rays is one of the most important things you should do this summer.
Is it true that only people with fair skin get skin cancer?
No. Skin cancer is more common among people with a light skin tone, but anyone can get skin cancer. Although people with darker skin don’t sunburn as easily, they are still at risk for skin cancer. It’s important to use sun protection no matter what you skin tone is because being in the sun damages your skin.
How does sun exposure damage the skin?
Sunlight causes damage through ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays. These UV rays damage key proteins in the skin - elastin and collagen, causing the skin to stretch, sag, and lose its ability to heal.
How does sun exposure cause skin cancer?
UV radiation from the sun damages the skin, lowering the skin’s immune function. This can cause precancerous and cancerous skin lesions that can develop into tumors.
How can I protect myself from skin cancer?
- Avoid extensive sun exposure between 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
- If you work or play outside try wearing long sleeves, long pants, and a hat that completely shades your face, ears, and neck
- Use a sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 and filters both UVA and UVB rays
- Wear sunglasses that filter UV rays to protect your eyes
- Use lip balm or cream that has SPF 30 to protect your lips
- Don’t use tanning beds, tanning booths, or sunlamps
- Check your skin every month for signs of skin cancer and get a yearly physical examination from a physician
- If you have an area on your skin that looks unusual or is changing in color, shape, or size speak to your doctor immediately
Applying sunscreen is probably one of the easiest ways to prevent millions of cases of cancer each year.
Important Sunscreen Information:
- Use sunscreen with at least SPF 30
- Apply sunscreen at least 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure
- Apply sunscreen to all skin that will be exposed to the sun, including the nose, ears, neck, scalp, and lips
- Apply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours while in the sun and after swimming or sweating a lot