Beyond Sunscreen: Summertime Tips to Prevent Skin Cancer and Other Sun-Related Skin Issues

Did you know that in the United States, skin cancer is more prevalent than all other cancers combined?

As skin care experts, we at MD Vein & Skin Specialists Columbia, Maryland, are passionate about delivering a holistic skin care treatment plan. We don’t only treat your skin problems, but go a step further to help you prevent potential hazards and safeguard your skin to keep it healthy.

With summer upon us, we put together this comprehensive list of summertime tips to help you and your loved ones enjoy the great outdoors while reducing your chances of getting sun-related skin issues. But first things first — it’s important to know why the sun is so harmful.

What is it about the sun that makes it so dangerous?

You’ve probably heard that too much exposure to the sun isn’t good for you. But what is it about the sun that makes it so dangerous? Sunlight is made up of different types of radiation – infrared, visible light, and ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet (UV) is responsible for facilitating the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells, which leads to cancers.

UV light is subdivided into three types of light according to the respective wavelength: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA light has the longest wavelength but the least energy. UVB, on the other hand, has a much shorter wavelength. UVC has the shortest wavelength of the three, but carries the highest energy, and does the greatest damage to the skin.

That’s why our top tip for staying safe in the sun this summer is making sure that you buy (and use) the right sunscreen.

Tip #1 Choose the right sunscreen

All sunscreen isn’t created equal, so choosing the right one is critical. According to the American Cancer Society, you should opt for a sunscreen that bears the trusty “broad spectrum” label, as this will ensure protection against UVA, UVB, and UVC rays.

Additionally, the sunscreen should have a sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher. The higher the SPF, the more protection against UVB rays you have. SPF 30 sunscreens will potentially filter out 97% of UVB rays. You can reduce your chances of developing squamous cell carcinoma by as much as 40% through regular daily use of an SPF 30 or higher.

Tip #2 Cover up whenever possible

Lathering SPF products before heading out is great, but it’s not enough. Whenever you step out into the sun, make sure that you’ve either got a hat or an umbrella for additional sun protection. You can also choose to wear clothes with long sleeves to protect your arms. Loose fitting trousers and long skirts are a fantastic way to shield your legs from unwanted radiation.

Tip #3 Stay far away from indoor tanning beds

We all want that sun-kissed glowing skin and may even take shortcuts to achieve the look, but did you know that at least 419,000 people are diagnosed with indoor-tanning-related skin cancer in the US every year? Tanning devices are on the cancer-causing agents list published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. These devices are so notorious that they have been banned altogether in countries such as Australia and Brazil.

Talk to someone about your skin cancer concerns

If you’re worried about any discoloration or suspicious moles, or would like to learn more about preventing skin cancer, schedule an appointment with Dr. Clement Banda, MD. We serve the Columbia, Maryland, area and look forward to helping you prevent skin cancer. Call our office today or click the convenient “Book Online” button.

 

Let’s keep the discussion going. Let us know in the comments what measures you take to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful effects.

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