It's no secret that the Florida sun can be brutal. While we all love to enjoy the outdoors and the sunshine puts us in a better mood, unprotected skin can increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Here are some tips on how to stay protected.
1. Never Skip Sunscreen
Although it's become common knowledge that skipping sunscreen is a no-no, many people ignore this crucial form of skin protection. Regardless of your skin tone, sunscreen is a must and should be applied even on overcast or cloudy days. Wearing sunscreen can:
- Reduce your risk of skin cancer
- Prevent sunburn and peeling
- Prevent wrinkles and dark spots
- Reduce skin blotchiness
- Help protect skin proteins such as collagen, elastin, and keratin
2. Keep Your Peepers Under Sunglasses
While sunglasses may be a great fashion accessory and can help you see better on glaring, sunny days, it's vital to ensure your sunglasses are also offering you 100% protection from UV rays. Wearing sunglasses that offer UV protection can reduce the risk of:
- Photokeratitis (also known as "eye sunburn")
- Eye melanoma - individuals with lighter eyes are more at risk
- Pinguecula and pterygium (growths on the eye)
3. Cover Up
When it's a scorcher outside, wearing extra clothing to cover our skin doesn't sound comfortable. However, choosing loose and lightly colored, breathable fabrics such as cotton can still keep you as cool as a cucumber! Don't forget to add protective accessories such as a wide-brim hat and sunglasses.
4. Forgo the "Base Tan"
The myth that "base tanning" via tanning beds can help protect your skin before heading out in the sun actually does more harm than good. Tanning beds use UVA light to darken your skin, which, according to the FDA, can increase your chances of developing skin cancer. Having a “base tan” will never protect you from getting sunburn.
5. Do a Spot Check
Giving yourself a spot check by using the ABCDEs of skin cancer outlined below can aid in early detection of sun damage and skin cancer.
- Asymmetry: One side of a mole or birthmark does not match the other side.
- Border: Irregular or scalloped borders.
- Color: Colors vary and may have shades of tan, brown, and black or sometimes white, red, pink, or blue.
- Diameter: The spot is larger than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser). However, sometimes, it can be smaller.
- Evolving: The mole or skin lesion is suddenly changing size, shape, and/or color.
If you would like more information about reducing your risk of skin cancer as well as skin cancer treatments, we are here to help. Contact The Brevard
Skin & Cancer Center to set up an appointment today at 321-267-3376. Our highly skilled oncologists and cancer care team are here to answer all of your questions and ease your concerns.