How To Protect Your Skin From Skin Cancer

Reduce your risk for skin cancer by knowing how to protect yourself.

It’s summertime, which means “sun’s out, sunscreen’s out.” If you’re not good at remembering to put on your sunscreen, especially during the summer months, let this serve as your reminder that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer. The good news is that there are ways to prevent skin cancer from happening to you. Here’s what our Encinitas, CA, dermatologists Dr. David Thomas and Dr. Margaret Dupree want you to know about protecting yourself against skin cancer.

Lather Up the Sunscreen

The best way to protect yourself against skin cancer, as our Encinitas, CA, dermatologists will always tell you, is to wear sunscreen daily. Yes, you need to wear it every day, even if you aren’t planning to spend much time outdoors. Make sure that you lather on a generous amount of broad-spectrum SPF 30 (or higher) sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays (make sure to check the label). Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside and every two hours after.

Don’t Let a Higher SPF Fool You

You need to reapply sunscreen every two hours of being outdoors or right away if you are sweating or swimming. Unfortunately, many people are lured into a false sense of security because they’ve lathered on that SPF 75 or 100 and think they’re good for the whole day. No, this sunscreen isn’t an impenetrable fortress. SPF, which stands for sun protection factor, is the estimated time the sunscreen will protect you once applied; however, you shouldn’t let this stop you from reapplying at least every two hours.  

Enjoy Fun in the…Shade

Okay, so spending time in the sun can undoubtedly boost your vitamin D levels and make you feel amazing, but if you aren’t wearing sunscreen, your skin is crying out for protection. We highly recommend sitting in the shade whenever possible if you plan to spend time in the sun, especially between 10 am-4 pm. This means sitting under the awning when eating lunch or dinner outdoors or relaxing under an umbrella if you’re going to the beach.

Wear Protective Gear

We understand that you want to sport that bikini when you’re on the beach, but if you are simply taking your daily walk or sitting outside enjoying dinner with friends, you may want to consider wearing clothes that can shield your skin from UV rays. Tightly woven fabrics that you can’t see through are best. And don’t forget to wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun away from your face, ears and neck (areas most susceptible to sunburns and skin cancer).

Of course, no matter your risk factors for skin cancer or how much time you spend in the sun, you can benefit from getting a skin cancer screening from our Encinitas, CA, dermatologists annually. To schedule your skin cancer screening, call North County Dermatology Center at (760) 230-2805.

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