Patients often ask, “What can I do to protect myself from skin cancer?”  Unfortunately, your skin’s sun damage cannot be completely reversed. However, several precautions can be taken to reduce your risk of developing skin cancers.

#1 Minimize Exposure

Minimize sun exposure from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM when the sun’s rays are the strongest. If you enjoy outdoor activities such as golfing, gardening, running, walking, or boating, try to schedule them outside of these “peak sun hours.”

#2 Use Sun Protection

Apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater at least one half hour before going outdoors and reapply as directed on the product label. Look for products containing avobenzone, titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide. These products have the highest chance of providing broad spectrum protection, blocking UVA and UVB rays. Choose a cream-based sunscreen if you have dry skin, and a gel-based, or non-comedogenic formula if you have oily or acne-prone skin. Choose a “very water resistant” formula if you will be sweating or in water; however, remember that even these must be reapplied every 80 minutes. If the ears or portions of the scalp are exposed due to short or thinning hair, remember to apply sunscreen to these areas as well. Make sure to use sunscreen on overcast days. The ultraviolet rays can be as damaging to your skin on cloudy, hazy days as they are on sunny days. Use a sunscreen while at lower latitudes or high altitudes. The sun is stronger near the equator and at high elevations, where the sun’s rays strike the earth most directly. Protect your lips with lipstick or a lip balm containing sunscreen. Wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, wide-brimmed hat and ultraviolet blocking sunglasses. Avoid use of the UV beds at tanning salons. If you need a little “color,” use a sunless tanning lotion or get a spray tan.

#3 Reverse Existing Damage

Ask us about the services that are most appropriate for you. While your skin has already been damaged by the sun, that damage can be treated. Precancerous damage can be minimized leaving healthier, better-looking skin.