By the time they reach the age of 70, nearly 20% of all people in the United States will be diagnosed with skin cancer. Skin can look normal and still have a melanoma. When people have to go for melanoma treatment, for between 60% and 70%, the problem was found on skin that looked totally normal, for between 20% and 30%, it is found on an existing mole. In addition to melanomas, about 4.3 million people around the country are found to have basal cell carcinoma (BCC) every year. This is the most common form of the disease. The good news for people who have been diagnosed with skin cancer is that the Mohs surgery can cure it at a rate of 98% to 99%. When it comes to BCC or melanoma treatment, prevention is always a better option. Here are some ways to prevent getting skin cancer in the first place:
- No tan is safe. Whether you lay out at the beach or pool or go to a tanning salon, the results are the same. A tan is not healthy, it is evidence of damage to your skin. Many people have been raised with the image of health being a tan and think that sunburns are the problem. While sunburns are certainly more painful than tans, they should both be avoided. If you want that sun-kissed look, go for the spray tan or the DIY creams. That is the only way to get the look without risking skin cancer.
- Use sunscreen and apply it often. Before you go outside, you should apply sunscreen. This is as true when it is cloudy as it is when it is sunny. People often think that because they have a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor or SPF that is high that they do not have to apply it often. That is not true. When you are out and about or when you go into a pool or the ocean, you can sweat sunscreen off or it can be washed off. You need to reapply throughout the day. While it is good to get a sunscreen with a higher SPF, you can keep yourself from burning by using one with a rating of 15 if you apply it often enough.
- Stay out of the sun in the middle of the day. If you can, avoid going out in the sun in the middle of the day. That is when it is strongest and the most likely to leave you needing BCC or melanoma treatment. Take a break from the sun from the hours of 11:00 am and 2:00 pm and you will do yourself a lot of favors.
- Wear a hat and protective clothing. When you are out and about doing things outside, even going to the store, you should wear a hat and long-sleeved shirts. These can do a lot to protect your skin from the ravages of the UV rays from the sun. Now, that is not always an option but if you are out during the middle of the day, your skin will thank you if you take these steps.
- Get your vitamin D from safe sources. Over the last few years, a lot of news has come out about people in the United States suffering from vitamin D deficiencies. A number of people have attributed this to the increased use of sunscreen. If you are concerned about getting enough vitamin D, which can really improve your health, you can get it from safer sources than the sun. Supplements can really work well if you are concerned about this.
- Get checked out by a dermatologist. If you are worried about needing melanoma treatment, you should make it a point to go to a skin doctor or dermatologist once a year so they can look you over and check on any moles that you may be worried about. Going to one on a regular basis will also help them get to know you and your skin. They can also offer recommendations for products that may work well with your complexion and skin type.
These tips will do more than help prevent skin cancer, they can also help you look younger for longer.