An estimated one in five people in the United States will develop skin cancer by age 70. Because skin cancer is preventable, it’s important that you know what to do to lower your own risk.
At Dermatology Center of Northwest Houston, board-certified dermatologist Lisa Hitchins, MD, PA offers a variety of skin cancer services, including preventive screenings and in-office treatments to remove cancerous tissue.
Dr. Hitchins encourages everyone to get a routine skin cancer check, especially those with risk factors like:
- Fair skin
- Weakened immune system
- Family history of skin cancer
You should also schedule routine skin cancer screenings if you spend a lot of time in the sun for work or activities and if you have a history of serious sunburns.
In between your skin cancer checks, you should also adopt healthy habits into your life that help protect you from developing cancerous or precancerous skin lesions.
Caring for your skin is important for reducing your risk for skin cancer. Our team at Dermatology Center of Northwest Houston offers insight into what you can do to keep your skin cancer risk low.
Wear sunscreen all year around
A high-quality sunscreen is essential if you’re spending any time in the sun. Be sure to apply it liberally to your face, ears, shoulders, and any part of your skin exposed to the sun. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF 30 rating or higher.
Sunscreen isn’t just for the summer months. You should wear it all year around, even on the cloudiest days, because your skin is still exposed to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. Snow, water, and sand can also reflect the sun’s rays and lead to a sunburn.
In addition to applying sunscreen daily, you also need to make sure you’re reapplying it every two hours, or more often if you’re swimming or sweating.
Wear protective clothing
Sunscreen is only half the battle in preventing damage from the UV rays of the sun. When you’re spending time outdoors, choose breathable clothing that covers your arms and legs.
You should wear a wide-brim hat that helps block the sun’s rays from your face, neck, and shoulders and choose UVA- and UVB-blocking sunglasses to protect your skin and the long-term health of your eyes.
Choose your time outdoors wisely
The sun hits its peak between the hours of 10am and 4pm. This is the time when the UV rays are the strongest and might increase your risk for sunburns.
If you have to be outside during these peak hours, apply and reapply sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and seek shade as often as possible.
Don’t use tanning beds
Tanning beds might seem like a safe alternative to sun exposure, but the reality is – they aren’t. Tanning beds use UV light to darken your skin.
This light can also damage your skin and make you more vulnerable to cancer, including melanoma, a very aggressive form of skin cancer.
Stay on top of your skin cancer screenings
Routine skin cancer checks are a great way for our team to identify skin cancer in the earliest stages. In-office skin evaluations give Dr. Hitchins the opportunity to assess your skin’s health and track changes from one visit to the next.
Our team can also show you how to perform regular skin checks on yourself, so you can identify suspicious moles or other potential warning signs of skin cancer.
To schedule your next skin cancer screening, call Dermatology Center of Northwest Houston or book an appointment line today.