Whether it’s the middle of summer or an unseasonably warm fall or winter day, there’s something inspiring about spending time in the warm sun. Both relaxing and uplifting, the sun has a way of changing our perspective. Unfortunately, the sun’s UV rays also have a way of altering the health of our skin. It is generally agreed amongst professionals in the medical community that the sun is a major factor in the development of various forms of skin cancer in both men and women. Beyond the risks of skin cancer, excessive exposure to the sun is often pointed to as responsible for the development of pigmentation issues, fine lines, and wrinkles that are all considered signs of early aging.
While skin cancer is one of the most preventable and often curable cancers when diagnosed and treated early on, there are steps that need to be taken regularly to prevent skin cancer and detect warning signs as quickly as possible. Early detection is key to eliminating as many risks as possible associated with the development of skin cancer.
The very same steps recommended for preventing or at a minimum detecting skin cancer early on come with the added benefit of contributing to overall skin care and health in the long-term. Men and women are generally equally dedicated to keeping their skin feeling and looking healthy in an effort to keep their skin looking as youthful as possible for as long as possible. Making a preventative skin cancer regime part of a daily routine is an important way to keep skin health top of mind.
While the highly recommended steps for preventing skin cancer may seem simple, their proven effectiveness makes them an essential component of interaction with the sun and its UV rays. For individuals who are at a high risk of developing skin cancer during their lifetime, these steps are even more vital to maintaining a healthy skin cancer-free lifestyle. Above all, it’s important to avoid UV ray exposure during peak hours of the day. The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm and if at all possible, it’s best to stay out of the sun entirely during this period of time.
If the sun can’t be avoided, it’s important to avoid sunburns. The risk of developing skin cancer rises with every sunburn that’s experienced and even a seemingly insignificant burn carries the potential to cause significant skin damage and potentially the development of cancer. One of the most effective ways to avoid sunburns and the damage caused by UV rays is to regularly wear protective clothing when anticipating time spent outdoors. Long sleeved shirts, hats, and sunglasses are essential apparel, particularly for those who are high-risk for skin cancer development.
Finally, ensuring that sunscreen or sunblock is applied before exposure to the sun is a simple and essential step for protecting skin from UV rays. Individuals at high risk for skin cancer may want to pursue utilizing facial creams, cleansers or makeup that are infused with sunblock as well for added protection and prevention.
While preventative steps such as clothing, sunblock, avoiding the sun and sunburns are important to overall skin health, dermatologists recommend making self-examinations a regular part of a monthly skin health routine as well. Self-examinations should involve a thorough observation of the entire surface of the skin looking for any noticeable changes in moles and skin spots. In general, both men and women should be on the lookout for moles and skin spots that are asymmetrical, have uneven borders, present with different colors from one side to the other or show signs of changes related to size or texture. If any of these signs are noticed during an exam, it’s important to follow up with a trained physician for verification. In addition to self-examinations, it’s recommended that individuals schedule an annual exam with a physician to ensure that a thorough skin evaluation is completed regularly and any noticeable changes are tracked over time.
Prospective patients that are interested in scheduling a skin cancer screening, have questions about self-examinations, want to schedule an annual exam or require skin cancer treatment will find a comprehensive list of options with Dr. Wright and his team at the St. Louis Laser Lipo and Vein Center. Our team prides itself on taking a comprehensive approach to all forms of patient care and are dedicated to making sure that each and every patient enjoys a safe, comfortable and successful experience at our clinic. Contact us today for more information on how skin care and skin cancer preventative services can put you on a path for lifelong healthy skin.