Skin Cancer Awareness Month: Ways to lower your risk of skin cancer

ways to lower risks of skin cancerSkin cancer is by far the most common cancer in the United States, and it can be deadly. Fortunately there are things you can do to reduce your risk of getting skin cancer. Limiting sun exposure is the best way to protect yourself, here are other top tips to help lower your risk.

Avoid Tanning Beds

If you are a tanning bed devotee, the best way to lower your skin cancer risk is to avoid them! Tanning beds direct UV light to the skin, which causes the skin to produce melanin (brown pigment) and causes damage that may lead to skin cancer. In fact, a law making its way through the Kansas legislature would ban minors from using tanning beds because of their harmful effects on skin. Dr. Kelly Killeen, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and an advocate for anti-skin cancer issues, spoke to the legislature on behalf of the bill. As a medical professional and a survivor of melanoma herself, Dr. Killeen has seen firsthand how tanning can harm skin health and elevate cancer risk.

Use Sunscreen

Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on your face and neck every day, even when it is cloudy. As an added bonus, you’ll keep your skin looking younger than those who do not use sunscreen. Over 90 percent of visible signs of skin aging is caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. If you anticipate being outside for more than 15 to 20 minutes, apply sunscreen to your whole body. A good rule of thumb is to use a shot glass-sized amount of sunscreen to cover your skin. Reapply every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.

Use Alternative Skin Tanning Products

If you crave that sun-kissed glow, consider using tanning lotion or a spray tan instead of heading out into the hot sun. Unlike the orange streaky looks of the past, today’s tanning alternatives look natural.

Wear a Hat

If you do venture out into the sun, always wear a hat (particularly if you are balding). A hat protects the crown of your head, which can receive considerable amounts of sun exposure.