How to Prevent Skin Cancer

No one wants to be diagnosed with skin cancer, but unfortunately, it’s a hard truth nearly 9,500 Americans face every day. Usually the culprit is the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When you don’t keep your skin shielded from these harmful rays, they can damage your DNA and prevent your skin from controlling its cell growth — resulting in cancer.

The best way to avoid skin cancer is by preventing it. While skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US, most cases could be prevented.

L.A. Viñas Plastic Surgery, with three locations in Florida, is here to share with you some of the ways you can help prevent skin cancer.

Stay in the shade

Florida is dubbed the “Sunshine State” because of its sunny weather all-year-round. Whether you’ve lived in Florida your whole life or have recently moved, it’s important to seek shade on sunny days when you can.

The sun’s rays are the most intense between 10am and 4pm. It’s extremely important during these hours to opt for a shaded spot because the sun’s position is the highest in the sky, meaning the ultraviolet rays are also at their most harmful.

Wear sunscreen every day

You’ve been told by your parents and your dermatologist too: Wear sunscreen. While it reduces premature aging, it also plays an essential role in protecting your skin from sunburn and ultimately skin cancer. 

Every day apply an SPF of 15 or greater to your skin 30 minutes before you plan to go outside. Regular use of an SPF15 or greater reduces your risk of developing melanoma by 50% and squamous cell carcinoma by 40%. Make sure to buy a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect yourself from UVA and UVB rays.

If you plan to be outside for an extended period of time, use an SPF of 30 or greater. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours and immediately after sweating or swimming.

Think you can skip the SPF on a cloudy day? Think again. UV rays even penetrate clouds. In fact, medical experts even suggest wearing SPF indoors if you work in a sunny indoor atmosphere.

Wear protective clothing

With sunny temperatures all year-round, it can be hard to stay out of the sun completely. That’s why it’s suggested to wear protective clothing when you do go outdoors. 

Skin cancer is most often found on the parts of the body most exposed to the sun like the face, head, hands, shoulders, and chest. That’s why protective clothing can play a vital role in protecting these vulnerable parts.

Wear a broadband hat to help shield your face and shoulders from the sun’s rays. While it may be tempting to wear minimal clothing in warm temperatures, it’s best to wear a T-shirt to cover your shoulders and chest. Find a pair of UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes and surrounding area from 100% of UV rays.

Get yearly exams

Get a yearly exam with Luis Viñas, MD or your primary doctor for the best chance of detecting skin cancer in its earliest, most treatable stage. If you have a higher risk of getting skin cancer, including family history or having had more than five sunburns, you may want to get more frequent exams. 

Doing a self-exam every month is a great way to make note of any unusual skin tags or moles. If you do find one, make sure to schedule an appointment ASAP so you can get it checked out.  Be sure to remove any nail polish and makeup prior to your meeting so your doctor can properly see the natural state of your skin.

Stay on top of your skin’s health. Contact us today to schedule an exam with Dr. Viñas.

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