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10 Ways to Reduce Your Skin Cancer Risk

Simple changes you can make today can reduce your skin cancer risk in the future

Ah, summer. The sun is shining, Ohio’s lakes are calling and you’re ready for a weekend spent in the great outdoors. But before you go catching tons of rays, make sure you’re practicing sun safety. Here, the experts at OhioHealth and the American Academy of Dermatology share their top tips for reducing your skin cancer risk.

1. Minimize sun exposure, especially during the peak sun hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., when solar radiation is most intense.

2. Wear appropriate clothing during prolonged periods in the sun, with a tighter textile weave, long sleeves, pants and a hat with a full brim.

3. Protect children by keeping them out of the sun, especially those under six months old.

4. Minimize sun exposure whenever possible and apply sunscreen to children older than six months.

5. Apply sunscreen or sunblock liberally and frequently, and reapply every two hours when working, playing or exercising outdoors. A product with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 is recommended, even on overcast days when 80 percent of the sun’s rays may penetrate the clouds.

6. Beware of reflective surfaces. Sand, snow, concrete and water can reflect up to 85 percent of the sun’s damaging rays.

7. Avoid tanning salons and sun lamps. The ultraviolet radiation emitted by these artificial sources is similar to that in sunlight, and can cause sunburn, premature skin aging and an increased risk of skin cancers.

8. Teach children and teens about sun protection, since skin damage from sun exposure accumulates over a lifetime. Most of a person’s lifetime sun damage occurs before the age of 20, and one or more blistering childhood or adolescent sunburns can double the risk of developing malignant melanoma, a lethal form of skin cancer.

9. Examine your skin regularly (and other family members, too), for any changes to freckles or moles, or new skin discolorations. Learn the early warning signs of skin cancer. If any disturbing change is noticed, or a strange new spot appears, see your dermatologist immediately.

10. Ask your physician for an annual skin check. Sometimes doctors see things we don’t. Schedule a skin check now so that you have a baseline norm to compare to in the future.

Wondering what’s going on with that new mole? Schedule an appointment with an OhioHealth dermatologist today.