Inform Yourself During Skin Cancer Awareness Month
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. This is the perfect time to learn more about the most common, and one of the most preventable, forms of cancer in the United States. Sanova Dermatology would like to take this opportunity to recommend the following prevention guidelines:
Stay in the Shade
The most dangerous time to have direct sun exposure is between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. “This is when the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation is strongest,” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, dermatologist and skin cancer expert in Austin, Texas. “When outdoors during this time, it’s best to stay in the shade as much as possible.”
Make putting on sunscreen a part of your daily routine. Use a broad spectrum variety with an SPF of 15 or higher. If you anticipate being outdoors for an extended period of time, use a sunscreen that is water-resistant with an SPF of 30 or higher. Thirty minutes before going outdoors, apply at least 1 ounce of broad spectrum sunscreen to the entire body. “Despite what the label says, no susncreen in water proof, or sweat proof.” Dr. Mamelak reminds his patients to reapply right after swimming or participating in any activity that results in excessive perspiration.
Self Examination is Your Friend
Each month, make a habit of examining your skin from head to toe. This should be in addition to seeing a physician annually for a professional skin exam. Watch for any changes in existing moles, and keep an eye out for new, suspicious-looking ones. If one is spotted, schedule an appointment with a physician right away.
Don’t Forget the Babies
Even a single severe sunburn in childhood can substantially increase the chances of developing melanoma years later. “Newborn skin is exceptionally vulnerable to the UV rays of the sun,” explains Dr. Mamelak. Newborn babies should be kept out of the direct sunlight as much as possible. Once they have reached six months of age, sunscreen should be liberally applied before going outside.