Find out how to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.
Overexposure to the sun can cause damage to the skin and can increase your risk for skin cancer. The problem is that its effects aren’t always visible until it’s too late. Our Pittsburgh, PA, dermatologists Drs. Damon McClain and Susannah Berke want every patient to know how to protect their skin and reduce their skin cancer risk by following these helpful and simple rules.
Wear Sunscreen Daily
Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before going outside. You should also reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately following swimming or sweating. The sunscreen you buy should be a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen (this means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of at least 30.
Stay in the Shade
The sun’s rays are the strongest between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. That means that you are more likely to get sunburned during these hours. While sunscreen can go a long way to protecting your skin, it’s also a good idea to avoid direct sunlight during these hours.
Avoid Tanning Beds
Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer and using tanning beds before age 35 can increase your risk for developing melanoma by 59 percent, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Every time you use a tanning bed your skin cancer risk increases (you don’t even have to get burned in order to increase your risk).
Wear Protective Clothing
While sunscreen is by far the most important thing you can do to protect your skin it’s also a good idea to wear clothing that reduces your exposure, especially if you’re going to be outdoors for a while. Opt for a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and clothing with tightly woven fabrics that sunlight can’t penetrate as easily.
Keep an Eye on Your Skin
To protect your skin from cancers when you’re at risk, you must set aside a few minutes each day to check your skin. Look for moles or growths that are changing shape, color, size, or becoming asymmetrical. Any mole that appears to be bleeding or becomes itchy should be checked by your dermatologist.
Get Skin Cancer Screenings
Even if your risk for skin cancer is rather low everyone can still benefit from visiting their Pittsburgh, PA, skin doctor at least once a year for a thorough skin cancer screening. This exam allows our dermatologist to check every part of your body, from your scalp to between your toes, to look for growths, mole changes or lesions that could be signs of melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancer.
When was the last time you turned to your dermatologist for a skin cancer screening? If the answer is “never” or if it’s been more than a year then it’s time to call Three Rivers Dermatology in Pittsburgh, PA at (412) 262-4911 to schedule your checkup.