Skin cancers can be caused by overexposure to the sun and ultraviolet (UV) rays. The sun’s rays damage your skin and frequent sun exposure, even if you don’t burn, can lead to skin cancer. Just one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles your chances of developing melanoma later in life.
Indoor tanning is not a safe alternative. This exposes the skin to ultraviolet rays in amounts 10-15 times higher than the sun at its peak intensity.
Know How to Protect Your Skin
- Minimize exposure to the midday sun (10 am – 4 pm) by seeking shade
- Wear clothing, hats, and sunglasses that protect the skin
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen (UV-A and UV-B protection) with a sun-protection factor (SPF) between 30-50 year round
- Examine your skin regularly and report changes or concerns to your doctor
- Do not use sunlamps or any type of indoor tanning.
- UV radiation from artificial sources is identified as a known cancer-causing source
- Many states in our nation and at least 2 other countries have enacted legislation to restrict the use of tanning beds by minors
- What are the Warning Signs of Melanoma?
During an inspection of the skin, specific attention should be given to the size, shape, edges and color of each mole.
A handy tool in remembering these features is to think of the A-B-C-D-E’s.
The A-B-C-D-E’s of Melanoma
(Source: The American Academy of Dermatology)