Whether your summer plans involve trips to the beach, picnics, bike rides or chasing after your kids, be sure to slather on the sunscreen. One in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. Sun exposure is a preventable risk factor for skin cancer.
Before stepping outside, apply sunscreen to all exposed skin, says Arash Koochek, M.D., M.P.H., a dermatologist at LCMH. He suggests choosing a sunscreen that provides both UVA and UVB protection, has an SPF of 30 or higher and is water-resistant.
“Be sure to reapply every two hours,” he adds. If you’re swimming or sweating, reapply more frequently.
DON’T STOP AT SUNSCREEN
Sunscreen isn’t the only way to safeguard your skin. “If possible, avoid being out in the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest. Or seek shade if you are outside during that time,” Dr. Koochek says.
He also recommends wearing protective clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, shoes that cover your feet, a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and sunglasses that offer UV protection to shield your eyes.
Even on days when the sun isn’t shining, be sure to follow sun-safety guidelines. “You should protect yourself from the sun even in the winter or on cloudy days,” Dr. Koochek says.
CHECK YOUR SKIN
Always be on the lookout for signs of skin cancer. “Once a month, check yourself from head to toe,” Dr. Koochek says. “If anything looks suspicious, such as a new or changing mole, or if it itches, burns, bleeds or isn’t healing, then get it looked at right away by a board certified dermatologist.”
In addition, consider getting a full-body skin screening from a dermatologist once a year.
GET A FREE SKIN CANCER SCREENING
If you have a spot you are worried about, have a board certified dermatologist take a look and assess it for skin cancer. To register for your free screening, please call 708-423-5774.