Protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays is the first step in skin cancer prevention. A person’s risk for melanoma doubles if they have had more than five sunburns, so don’t skimp on the sunscreen, and don’t forget to protect your scalp and ears.
For proper sunscreen use, it should be applied 30 minutes prior to going outside and reapplied every two hours of being in the sun. The sun’s rays are most intense between 10:00am and 2:00pm, so try to stay out of the sun during this peak time.
The FDA recommends applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to all uncovered skin. Regular daily use of SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40%, and lower your melanoma risk by 50%.
Clinical studies have not determined that daily use of sunscreen can lead to vitamin D insufficiency. Studies actually show that people who use sunscreen regularly can maintain their levels of vitamin D.
Depending on the strength of your sunscreen, anywhere from 2-7% of solar UVB rays are still reaching your skin, giving your body the opportunity to manufacture vitamin D. While it’s important to check yourself at home often, getting an annual skin cancer screening by a professional can be instrumental in identifying any suspicious lesions and treating them early.
Scheduling your yearly full body skin exam with a dermatologist is the most important step in detecting skin cancer. Melanoma can be found anywhere on the body, and are sometimes overlooked on self-exams, especially on the back or scalp.
Dermatology Partners is a physician-led dermatology group with 29 offices in locations throughout Pennsylvania and Delaware. Since 2012, its providers treat a full spectrum of diseases of the skin, hair, and nails and specialize in the detection and treatment of skin cancers, including Mohs surgery.
The organization prides itself on its ability to offer patients immediate appointments so there is no need to wait weeks or months to receive care. To find out more about Dermatology Partners, or to book an appointment at one of their convenient locations in PA or DE, visit www.dermpartners.com or call (888) 895-3376.