Do you wear sunscreen every time you go out into the sun? If you are like most Americans, you do not. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, only about 14.3% of men and about 30% of women put the protective creams and sprays on before they go out. This is one of the biggest reasons our skin starts to look old and the most common cause of skin cancer, says Dr Dean Strobel, Dr Strobel recommends the following tips to prevent skin cancer.
- See a dermatologist. If you are concerned about skin cancer, you need to see a doctor who specializes in skin diseases and conditions. Other kinds of physicians are not trained to look for skin cancer and may not recognize it. Dermatologists can often spot the cancer earlier, when the cancer is more treatable, than later on. This early detection will make treatment easier and will result in better outcomes.
- No cancer is “harmless.” Some people think that if they have been diagnosed with a basal cell cancer, they have the “safe” kind. Dr Strobel reminds his patients that while these growths are easier to remove and treat, they are still cancer. More than one million cases of basal cell cancer are discovered every year. Between 5 and 10% of these cancers are resistant to treatment. These may end up requiring some pretty intense treatment and surgery. The point is not to scare people but to let them know they need to take this seriously.
- No tan is “safe.” Both sunburns and sun tans are evidence of sun damaged skin. This is the reason people should wear sunscreen whenever they are outside. If you like the look of a tan, spray tanning can get you the look without the cancer risk. There are also products you can buy that will achieve similar results without the dangers of the sun or the tanning bed. Dr Strobel reminds his patients that people who go for tanning session are at least 2.5 times more likely to develop some kinds of skin cancer.
- Coffee can help. If you drink coffee every day, you are doing more for your health than you may think. Research ahas shown people who drink coffee are less likely to suffer from depression but it now looks like the beverage can help prevent skin cancer. Each cup of caffeinated coffee can lower your risk for developing skin cancer by 5%. Researchers think that coffee has antioxidants that help lower the cancer risk.
- If your skin is darker, you can still get skin cancer. The rates for developing skin cancer are lower for people who have darker skin but people who have dark skin and are diagnosed with skin cancer are more likely to develop more serious and deadly forms of the disease. Researchers have yet to find out what causes this but Latinos, Asians and people of African descent are more likely to develop melanoma on the bottoms of their feet and on the palms of their hands. For people like this, the sun is less of a factor in the development of these cancers.
- You should use sunscreen but be careful about relying on the SPF. Many people do not understand what the SPF on the sunscreen is. SPF stands for “sun protective factor” and tells you how well it protects you from UVB rays, which are what give you the sunburn. This says nothing about the UVA protection. Also, you need to reapply sunscreen. You should not spray yourself with he 150 SPF sunscreen once and then never touch it. Throughout the day, you need to put more on. When you are picking one, it is recommended that you pick one that is labeled “broad spectrum” as this indicates more protection from UVA rays. You should also use hats and other protective clothing to keep the sun off of your skin, especially in the middle of the day.
Protecting your skin from the sun is not just a matter of protecting against skin cancer, says Dr Strobel. The sun is one of the main things that causes wrinkles and other signs of aging. The best thing you can do to keep your skin looking young is protect it from the sun.