Spring is finally here, so all of the “Snowbirds” who spent their winter in warmer climates are now returning home. However, with warmer climates comes more sun, which can cause damage to the skin. May is skin cancer awareness month, so we’ve created a list of ways that you can prevent sun damage and skin cancer for healthy, youthful skin.
Types of Skin Cancer
When it comes to skin cancer, there are three major types. These include:
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal Cell Carcinomas are the most common type of skin cancer in people of all ages, and usually appear as raised, smooth, pearly bumps on sun-exposed skin. It is important that Basal Cell Carcinoma be diagnosed and treated early, as it can invade surrounding tissues and grow into the nerves and bones if left untreated.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous Cell Carcinomas are the second most common type of skin cancer, and often appear as well-defined, scaly, red bumps on sun-exposed areas of skin. It may bleed, and if left untreated, can develop into a large mass. Squamous Cell Carcinoma may grow deep into the skin and cause further damage if left untreated.
Melanoma often develops in a mole or appears as a new dark spot on the skin. Because Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, early diagnosis and treatment are crucial. Melanomas are one of the most common cancer types in younger people, especially in those ages 25-29. The risk of melanoma increases with age.
Skin Cancer Prevention Tips
Try to avoid direct sunlight between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
Covering up with clothing can help to protect the skin, including broad-rimmed hats and UV-blocking sunglasses.
Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day, even if it is cloudy outside. If you are going to spend an extended amount of time outdoors, try a water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Keep newborn babies out of the sun. Sunscreens should only be used on babies over six months of age.
Visit your doctor every year for a professional skin exam to check for any suspicious lesions.
If you are interested in learning more about skin cancer prevention tips, or skin rejuvenation treatments, contact our West Michigan plastic surgery office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Dodde.