How to Prevent Skin Cancer

How to prevent skin cancer is a commonly asked question. The often used saying that prevention is the best cure holds true for skin cancer as it does for other skin and health problems. Fortunately, skin cancer prevention is a well understood area.

woman applying suntan lotion on skin

By far the best skin cancer prevention technique is to avoid or limit exposure to the sun. This also applies to the use of tanning beds or tanning booths or sun lamps. Most harm to the skin occurs during the midday hours or from 10:00am to 4:00pm and therefore it is best to stay out of the sun during this time. However, this is not always practical for many individuals and therefore when outside during these hours one should where a hat, appropriate sun glasses, stay in shaded areas, and wear long sleeve shirts and long pants. If the skin is directly exposed to the sun, either due to wearing a swimsuit or regular summer clothing, then a sunscreen should be used. Recommendations for the minimum SPF factor to use vary, but ensure that the sunscreen is at least SPF 15 or higher. To be safe, go for SPF 30. Be sure to reapply often, especially if sweating a lot or swimming. Ensure that the sunscreen has not expired. If in doubt, purchase a new batch to ensure maximum protection is provided. Use of expired products can lead to serious sunburns and long term negative skin effects.

The above recommendations address the how to prevent skin cancer question. Other things to keep in mind when thinking about preventing skin cancer is that some individuals need to take more precautions than others. For example, fair skinned individuals, individuals with a lot of moles, people with weakened immune systems, and individuals with a family history of skin cancer problems need to take extra care and need to be more diligent in knowing how to prevent skin cancer.

Keeping your immune system healthy by eating properly and consuming lots of antioxidant rich foods, exercising regularly, reducing stress, and getting proper rest, are all factors that contribute to preventing skin cancer.

Finally, skin cancer prevention extends to early detection. Successful early detection can prevent skin cancer from becoming worse and it greatly increases the odds of a successful treatment and excellent 5 year survival rate.

Other skin cancer related resources:

the five signs | warning signs | statistics

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