Best Way To Prevent Skin Cancer

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Did you know that using good sunscreen products is the best way to prevent skin cancer? So you want to protect your skin? Then, the best way to prevent skin cancer is with the use of top-rated sunscreen products whenever you are outside. Quality sunscreens help shield you from the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays in two ways. First, some work by scattering the sunlight, i.e., reflecting it away from your body. Others absorb the UV rays before they reach your skin. You should use a good sunscreen product year-round for the best protection!

One of the best ways to prevent skin cancer is to wear clothing that blocks the sun’s rays from reaching your skin without being too hot. Also, wearing a hat to protect your head will help as one of the best ways to prevent skin cancer. More importantly, staying indoors during the hottest part of the day is one of the best ways to prevent skin cancer!

Best Way to Prevent Skin Cancer – Sunscreens

Ultraviolet Radiation

Ultraviolet radiation is invisible rays that are part of the energy that comes from the sun. In addition, these rays can burn the skin and cause skin cancer. Sun rays comprise three types: ultraviolet A, ultraviolet B, and ultraviolet C. Although ultraviolet C is the most dangerous type of ultraviolet light in terms of its potential to harm life on Earth, it cannot penetrate the Earth’s protective ozone layer. Therefore, it currently poses no threat to human, animal, or plant life on earth.

best way to prevent skin cancer - picture of sunburn on the shoulder.
Sun Burn

Ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays penetrate the ozone layer and reach the surface of the earth. Because ultraviolet A is weaker than ultraviolet B, scientists have long blamed ultraviolet B as the sole culprit in causing skin cancer. This was due to people with sensitive skin with a history of sunburn and repeated overexposure to ultraviolet radiation. Recent research, however, has also implicated ultraviolet A as a cause of skin cancer.

Ultraviolet B rays are more likely than ultraviolet A rays to cause sunburn. However, ultraviolet A passes further into the skin. Scientists have long thought that ultraviolet B can cause melanoma and other types of skin cancer. They also now think that ultraviolet A may add to skin damage that can lead to cancer. Therefore, dermatologists recommend people use sunscreens that block both kinds of radiation.

Choosing A Good Sunscreen

Best way to prevent skin cancer - picture of sunscreens.

A few years ago, choosing a good sunscreen meant you just looked for a high sun protection factor (SPF). In essence, the SPF factor only rates how well sunscreen protects against one type of skin cancer-causing UV rays – ultraviolet B (UVB). Research soon showed that ultraviolet A rays (UVA) also increase skin cancer risk. While UVA rays don’t cause sunburn, they penetrate deeply into the skin and can cause wrinkles. Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that up to 90% of skin changes associated with aging are caused by one’s lifetime exposure to UVA rays.

Personal tip: If you have hypersensitive skin, a rule of thumb to protect it: the fewer chemicals, the better. Finding SPF options without skin irritants like parabens, fragrances, and dyes helps prevent painful flare-ups and poison ivy-level itching. Natural sunblock is your best bet.

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Best Way To Prevent Skin Cancer – The Different Types

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells. It most often develops on areas of the skin exposed to the sun’s rays. More importantly, skin cancer affects people of all colors and races. However, those with light skin, who sunburn easily, have a higher risk.

Types of Skin Cancer

Actinic Keratoses (AK)

These dry, scaly patches and spots are pre-cancerous growths.

  1. People who get AKs usually have fair skin.
  2. Most people see their first AKs after 40 years of age because AKs tend to develop after years of sun exposure.
  3. AKs usually form on the skin that gets lots of sun exposure, such as the head, neck, hands, and forearms.
  4. Because an AK can progress to a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), treatment is important.

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
This Is the Most Common Type of Skin Cancer.

  • Frequently develops in people who have fair skin, yet it can occur in people with darker skin.
  • BCCs look like flesh-colored, pearl-like bumps or a pinkish patch of skin.
  • Develops after years of frequent sun exposure and indoor tanning.
  • They are common on the head, neck, and arms, yet can form anywhere on the body, including the chest, abdomen, and legs.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment of BCC is important. It can invade the surrounding tissue and grow into the nerves and bones, causing damage and disfigurement.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
SCC Is the Second Most Common Type of Skin Cancer.

  1. People who have light skin are most likely to develop SCC, yet it can develop in darker-skinned people.
  2. It often looks like a firm red bump, a scaly patch, or a sore that heals and then re-opens.
  3. SCC tends to form on skin that gets frequent sun exposure, such as the rim of the ear, face, lips, neck, arms, chest, and back. It can grow deep in the skin and cause damage and disfigurement. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent this and stop SCC from spreading to other areas of the body.

This Is the Deadliest Form of Skin Cancer.

  • It frequently develops into a mole or suddenly appears as a new dark spot on the skin.
  • Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial.
  • Knowing the ABCDE warning signs of melanoma can help you find an early melanoma. See the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD’s) body mole map shown below to note the results of your self-examination. Consult your dermatologist immediately if any of your moles or pigmented spots appear on the illustration.

Best Way to Prevent Skin Cancer – What to Look For

ABCDE Warning Signs of Melanoma
Signs To Look For:

A = Asymmetry
One half is unlike the other half.

B = Border
An irregularly scalloped or poorly defined border.

C = Color
It varies from one area to another; it has shades of tan, brown, or black, or is sometimes white, red, or blue.

D = Diameter

Melanomas are usually greater than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed, but they can be smaller.

E = Evolving

A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.

Body Mole Map

When caught early, skin cancer is highly treatable. See AAD’s body mole map below for information on how to check your skin for signs of skin cancer. Also, keep track of the spots on your skin and make note of any changes from year to year.

Personal Tip: If you notice a mole that is different from others, or that changes, itches, or bleeds, you should make an appointment to see a dermatologist immediately!

Best way to prevent skin cancer - picture of a body mole map.
Body Mole Map

Most Skin Cancers Are Preventable. To Protect Yourself, Follow These Six Skin Cancer Prevention Tips:

1.) Avoid the sun during the middle of the day.

2.) Use Sunscreen year-round.

3.) Wear protective clothing.

4.) Avoid tanning beds.

5.) Be aware of sun-sensitizing medications.

6.) Check your skin regularly and report changes to your doctor.

RemediesIf you notice a questionable spot on your body, visit your dermatologist for testing. If it is skin cancer, treatment may include freezing the skin with liquid nitrogen, removing the skin growth layer by layer, or surgery to cut out the cancerous tissue. Further treatment for melanoma may also include radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

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12 thoughts on “Best Way To Prevent Skin Cancer”

  1. Mick,
    I spend a great deal of time outside. I wear my bucket hat and sunglasses when I am out. I have not had a sunburn in years. I try to limit the amount of sun I get.
    Great information to know about skin cancer as I am getting a lot older. Having information to prevent the long term effects of skin cancer is very helpful.

    • John, great to hear that you haven’t had a sunburn in years. When outdoors do use a sunscreen of at least 30 SPF for protection. Skin cancer can occur from past exposures to the sun. We are never in the clear when it comes to when the exposure takes place. Skin cancer can and often times takes years to pop up. Check your skin frequently.

  2. This is great information for me as I live in the great sunny state of Florida and I just spent the past two days at the beach. I do put on sun screen, and I use a high spf on my face all the time. The rest of my body….well that can get neglected. But after reading this, I know that I need to be more diligent in my skin care. I do have an appt. with a dermatologist just for my normal check up on my skin. I do try to stay proactive!

    • It’s good to know that you are proactive with your skin care. You need to use the sunscreen all over your exposed body when in the sun. My wife had some skin cancer (Basil Cell Carcinoma) removed from her shoulder and she is from Colombia and grew up about 300 miles from the equator. She has a great natural tan. Also, I had two tumors (skin cancer) removed from both my arms that turned out to be melanoma which can kill you. The two of us have had all three forms of skin cancer not something I recommend for anyone. Melanoma can spread to other parts of the body. President Carter’s brain cancer started out as skin cancer. For him, he eventually was cancer free from some serious treatments he got.

  3. Great article you have here, very informative. I didn’t have a clue that there were 3 types or UV rays – and that actually only 2 reach the earth! What worries me is the fact that now we have holes in our Ozone layer and that means that UVC could be getting through – right? That is why Australia and New Zealand have higher rates of skin cancer. What do you think?

  4. Hello James,
    I have to say that your article was very helpful for me. I live in Greece, in Rhodes and the sun is very strong. The Uv radiation is very strong also and I am blond with fair skin so… I think I have to take care a lot. Choosing the right skin protection is very important because no one wants to have skin cancer:( I can see you are a pro on this subject. I will take your advice to wear sun cream all year. I really found informative generally your site and I will surely be back for more information. Thanks a lot for sharing.
    have a great day

  5. I always wondered how ancient people tackle these UV rays without sunscreens. Though sunscreens have their own benefits, I prefer natural ways. Could you suggest some? There are so many misinformation regarding sunscreen all over the internet.

    Your article is far different all those. Thanks for this interesting and informative article.

    • Thanks for the comments. The problem with all natural sunscreens is the SPF rating, if any. Here are a few natural sunscreens. Notice some have low SPF values.

      The individual ingredients are considered low SPF.

      Almond Oil- SPF around 5Coconut Oil- SPF 4-6Zinc Oxide SPF 2-20 depending on how much is usedRed Raspberry Seed Oil SPF 25-50Carrot Seed Oil – SPF 35-40Shea Butter – SPF 4-6

  6. Wow, my immediate impression is that your site is the authority on Skin Care. I know melanoma is on the rise in Ireland and people really need not to be using those sun beds and really protecting their skin.

    I believe you are providing a very valuable service and I do hope many read your advice here, it could save their lives.

    • Thank You Phillip for your comments. My wife and I have experienced all three skin cancers which is the reason we got involved with skin care. We have been lucky in that we are cured. We are just trying to educate the public concerning this god awful disease.

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