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Skin Cancer Awareness Month: What to Look for in a Sunscreen

How to Prevent Skin Cancer with Sunscreen

Finding the Right Sunscreen to Fight Skin Cancer

Skin cancer can happen to anyone for many reasons, but there are ways to protect yourself against it. The most common cause of skin cancer is sun exposure. The best way to protect against the sun is with the proper sunscreen. The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute want you to be informed on which sunscreen is best for you and why. Below you will learn more on how to best protect yourself with sunscreen.

Sunlight and Skin Cancer

The ultraviolet rays (UV) from the sun can cause so much damage to skin tissue that it can become deadly. Too much sun exposure can cause the top of layers of our skin to burn. If a burn is severe or occurs often it could turn into skin cancer. Skin cancer develops in the top of layer of skin, the same layer sun damage effects. If skin cancer is not diagnosed and treated quickly, it can turn deadly.

Signs of skin cancer include moles that are asymmetrical, have unusual borders, changed in size or color, or have evolved over time. If one or more of these symptoms occurs, a dermatologist will want to test the mole. If it is skin cancer, the dermatologist will provide you treatment options.

One option they may recommend Mohs micrographic surgery. This surgery involves removing the affected tissue and testing it for skin cancer. Tissue is continually removed and tested until it comes back as negative. The procedure is simple and does not cause much pain, but we do not want you to have to go through it.

The best way to protect yourself from being diagnosed with skin cancer or going through treatment is to wear the proper sunscreen.

Sunscreen that Offers the Best Protection

The sun is most damaging from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and extra precaution should be taken during these hours. In fact, any time you are outside, whether the sun is shining or it is a cloudy day, you should be taking precaution against the sun. In addition to staying in the shade, the best protection is sunscreen. Not all sunscreens are made the same though.

Sunscreens that provide the best protection are water-resistant, broad-spectrum coverage and have an SPF of at least 30. It should be reapplied every two hours and more often if you are swimming. A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects you from UVA and UVB rays that are both harmful to your skin. Also, be cautious in purchasing a lotion or spray sunscreen. A lotion sunscreen is often applied more evenly and thicker, offering enhanced protection. With a spray sunscreen you are at risk for missing areas of the skin and having less coverage than a lotion provides.

After sunscreen is applied, make sure to wait 15 minutes before swimming so it has time to absorb into the skin. Sunscreen does not offer immunity to skin cancer but is the best step to take in protection against it.


Contact Us

If you have questions about what to look for in a sunscreen or have skin cancer concerns, the dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute can provide answers. If you are in Bloomington, Illinois or the surrounding areas get in touch with us.

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