Whether it be a plant growing in our garden or our very own bodies, everything draws energy and nutrients from the sun’s rays. However, as crucial as these rays are to sustaining us, they can also be extremely dangerous to our health if we aren’t careful. Skin cancer is a very real possibility for those who haven’t properly protected themselves from the sun. Fortunately, there are still things you can do now to reduce your chances of developing it later. Here are four important ways to protect yourself from skin cancer and help preserve your long-term health.
Protect Yourself from the Sun
First and foremost, you must always protect yourself from the sun’s UV rays. Though sunburns might not initially seem like a threat, these events are actually doing permanent damage to the deeper layers of your skin. So, if you want to increase your odds, it’s vital that you’re keeping yourself guarded from the sun whenever you go outside—including colder months and cloudy days. You can do this by applying and reapplying sunscreen, wearing longer clothing, and staying in the shade whenever possible.
Perform Regular Skin Exams
It’s also crucial that you’re conducting regular self-skin exams and consulting your doctor should you notice anything suspicious. These checks allow you to familiarize yourself with your skin and pinpoint areas that appear different from the rest. In knowing what to look for, you could notice changes that indicate something more hazardous than the standard pimple or blackhead. Therefore, make it a point to do these inspections once a month and take note of anything questionable you find.
Avoid Tanning Treatments Entirely
Another way to protect yourself from skin cancer later on in life is to avoid getting tans. While we all want to look good, the risk of tanning is simply too high. This is especially the case if you’re tanning in a tanning bed. These treatments put your skin under serious stress in order to initiate the pigmentation process. This is what makes them one of the leading causes of skin cancer—second only to the sun itself.
Visit a Dermatologist Annually
It’s important that you’re seeing your dermatologist at least once a year to discuss the health of your skin. This is a wonderful opportunity to raise any concerns you have about your skin and get your questions answered. They will even perform their own exam and identify spots that might be problematic. From here, your dermatologist can recommend additional steps you can take to mitigate your risk.