|Skin Cancer Facts You are at increased risk for Melanoma and Skin Cancer if you have any of the following:
- Blonde or red hair, fair complexion, light eyes
- Tendency to burn easily in the sun
- Presence of freckles or atypical moles
- Any outdoor occupation or sports
- Family history of skin cancer
- Intense sun exposure during the first 18 years of life or cumulative sun exposure over time
- Previous family or personal history of melanoma
- History of tanning bed use
Everyone needs sunscreens every day, rain or shine! DSC recommends a broad spectrum sun block and/ or sunscreen to minimize sun exposure.
The United States Department of Health & Human Services has declared ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) radiation from the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sun lamps, as a known carcinogen (cancer-causing substance). Every time you tan, you damage your skin and this damage accumulates over time. This accumulated damage, in addition to accelerating the aging process, also increases your risk for skin cancer.
Protect yourself from exposure to Ultraviolet light (sunlight):
- Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade or you’re likely to sunburn.
- Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, where possible. Several companies specialize in sun protective clothing.
- Apply a broad spectrum sun block with a SPF of at least 15 in winter and 30 in summer. Apply 15 – 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating. Apply 1 ounce of sun block, enough to fill a shot glass, to cover the exposed areas of the body properly. Don’t forget to protect your lips! Wearing sunscreen should not provide a false sense of security about protection from UVB exposure as no sunscreen can provide 100 percent UVB protection. REAPPLY OFTEN!! Sunscreens or sun blocks should not be used to increase the time spent in sunlight.
Sun block/ Sunscreen Recommendations
Choose your sun protection based on the product’s ingredients rather than the name brand. Check labels.
- A Physical Sunblock is best as it reflects sun off your skin.
- Zinc oxide (Now transparent)
- Titanium Dioxide
- Chemical sunscreens interact with the sun’s rays after they touch your skin. Broad spectrum products help to protect you from UVA and UVB light, both known to contribute to skin cancer and aging.
- Parsol 1789/ Avobenzone provides the best broad spectrum coverage. Stabilization of this sunscreen provides optimal protection.
We recommend Elta MD sunblocks.
Protect children from sun exposure by playing in the shade, using protective clothing and applying sunscreen.
- Use extra caution near water, snow and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn. Even on a cloudy day, up to 80 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can pass through the clouds. In addition, sand reflects 25 percent of the sun’s rays and snow reflects 80 percent of the sun’s rays. Sunscreen should be applied to exposed skin every day, not just on sunny days.
- Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements. Don’t seek the sun.
- Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sun block with it.
- Check your skin monthly. If you notice anything changing, growing or bleeding on your skin, call us for an evaluation. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.