Summertime can wreak havoc on your skin. Because while you’re running, jumping, swimming, and barbequing outside, your skin is soaking up harmful rays that, over time, increase your risk of skin cancer. Dr. Timothy Beck and his team at Life Point Medical want you to have a great summer without damaging your skin. Here’s how you have healthy, skin cancer-free while having fun in the sun.
What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is the wild growth of abnormal skin cells that happens when the DNA in your skin cells is damaged, often by the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. DNA mutations can lead to uncontrolled, rapidly multiplying skin cells that form cancerous tumors, which must be removed.
These are the most common skin cancers.
In melanoma, moles exposed to the sun’s damaging rays change size, shape, or color. Other symptoms include large brown spots dotted with darker spots, and lesions that develop irregular borders or appear white, red, or blue.
Squamous cell carcinoma
In squamous cell carcinoma, a firm, red nodule grows from your skin, or a crusty, flat lesion appears.
Basal cell carcinoma
A basal cell carcinoma looks like a scar or a waxy bump.
How to maintain healthy, cancer-free skin
If you never go outside, you’ll reduce your risk of skin cancer. But that’s no fun. Instead, follow these tips for healthy, cancer-free skin.
Sun is less likely to damage skin when you cover up with long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. And if you’re on the water, wear light-colored gloves to protect your hands, too.
Limit direct exposure to the sun, especially during the afternoon. Seek shade or relax under an umbrella during the hottest parts of the day.
Whenever you’re outside, no matter the season, but especially during the summer, slather on a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Pick a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Higher SPF is better, but not by much, and no sunscreen totally protects you from the sun’s rays.
Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. And don’t be fooled by “water resistant” sunscreens, which are not water- or sweat-proof. Rub it on again after you swim or work up a sweat.
To learn how you can protect yourself from skin cancer during summer, and how to treat it effectively, call Life Point Medical at (706) 534-6566, or schedule your appointment online today.