Summer is here! With such beautiful weather, it is tempting to spend every free minute we have outside in the bright sunshine. Before you do, Dr. Holley urges you to stop and remember just how closely sun exposure and skin cancer are related. In fact, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation, sun exposure accounts for 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 65 percent of melanomas—the most deadly form of skin cancer. Wanting the best for his patients here in West Michigan, here, Dr. Holley happily provides a few tips to keep you and your skin healthy this summer.
Know Your Risk
There are many factors that determine your individual risk when it comes to developing skin cancer. Genetics, having fair features, and age (those older than 50 are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer) can increase your risk of skin cancer. Those who find that they easily or frequently sunburn are also at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
Practice Sun Safe Ways
You can still enjoy your summer by practicing sun-healthy ways. Did you know that the sun is at its strongest between 10:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon here in West Michigan? Avoid excessive exposure during this time by staying inside or seeking out shade during these especially sun-strong hours. When you are outside, wear clothing that will protect your skin from the sun—light fabrics that breathe easily can keep you cool while protecting your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Dr. Holley suggests that men and women both wear a large brimmed sunhat to protect easily forgotten areas like the top of the head, ears, and neck.
Sun Protection Is Very Important
We cannot stress just how important sunscreen is! Amazingly, sunscreen has been shown to reduce the risk of melanoma by 50 percent. When choosing for a sun lotion, make sure to look for broad spectrum protection with an SPF of at least 30. This keeps your skin is protected from both UVA and UVB rays. It is also important to reapply sun screen if you are out in the sun for a prolonged period of time or after activities such as swimming or sweating.
Need another reason to wear sunscreen every day? One study found that those who used sunscreen daily were 24 percent less likely to show increased signs of aging.
It only takes ten minutes once a month to check yourself for signs of skin cancer. Look for the ABCD and E’s of skin cancer:
- A is for Asymmetry: Both sides of a mole should match the other
- B is for Border: Unhealthy moles will have rugged, notched, or blurred borders
- C is for Color: Be on the look out for moles that vary in color
- D is for Diameter: While they can be smaller, melanomas are usually around six millimeters in diameter when diagnosed
- E is for Evolving: Healthy moles will stay consistent in size, shape, and color
It is also recommended that you visit a skincare professional once a year for a full exam. Dr. Holley specializes in skin cancer treatment and has undergone special training to assess and treat skin cancer.
Dr. Holley Encourages You to Be Sun-Safe this Summer
Don’t let the sun get the best of you this summer! Dr. Holley wants to be sure you practice sun safe ways every day! Please feel free to schedule a personal consultation at West Michigan Plastic Surgery if you would like advice on sun safe ways.