A few simple precautions can help you reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach, your Chicago, IL, dermatologist at North Branch Dermatology, LLC, is here to share several skin cancer prevention tips.
Enjoy the shade
Stick to shady areas if you venture outside between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the hours in which the sun's rays are the strongest. Enjoy walks and visits to the beach during the early morning and evening hours instead.
Use sunscreen every day to prevent skin cancer
Make applying sunscreen a daily habit, even during the winter months. Sunscreen protects you from ultraviolet radiation that can damage your skin and lead to skin cancer. Read sunscreen labels carefully and choose a broad spectrum product that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. Add a new coat of sunscreen after you've been in the sun for about two hours. Apply it more often if you swim or sweat. Use products that contain a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
Wear protective clothing
Keeping your skin covered is the best way to avoid sunburn. Some manufacturers make clothing with built-in sun protection, but any type of clothing provides some level of protection.
Don't forget eye protection
Sun exposure can cause melanoma, a particularly deadly form of skin cancer that can even occur in your eyes and eyelids. Wear sunglasses when you're out in the sun, even if it's just for a few minutes. Skip the fashion sunglasses and look for lenses that block 100 percent of ultraviolet rays. For maximum protection, choose wraparound frames.
Stay away from tanning beds
Some people believe that tanning is safer than sunbathing. Unfortunately, it's just as dangerous. People who use tanning beds are three times more likely to develop melanoma, 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Visit your Chicago dermatologist yearly
During yearly visits, your dermatologist will examine your skin for possible signs of cancer. Early detection plays an important role in successful treatment.
Ready to make an appointment with the skin doctor? Call Dr. Fahrenbach, your Chicago, IL, dermatologist at North Branch Dermatology, LLC, at (773)763-6000 today.