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Seven Sun Safe Habits for Skin Cancer Prevention

In recognition of the month of May as National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Price Skincare Clinic is running a series of blog posts on the topic this month. This post features seven steps you can take to prevent skin cancer.

When it comes to skin cancer prevention, you are your first line of defense.

“Skin cancer is preventable if you follow some simple guidelines to protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun,” says Richard Price, M.D., of Price Skin Care Clinic of Ridgeland, MS. “Practice safe sun habits and you can enjoy the outdoors without putting your skin – and even life – at risk.”

Here are seven safe sun habits you should practice to keep your skin healthy and cancer-free.

#1. Sunscreen is your best friend
Sunscreen is your greatest ally in keeping skin cancer at bay. That’s because the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays are your worst enemy. The more your skin is exposed to the sun, the more you put yourself at risk for skin cancer.

So keep these three rules in mind where sunscreen is concerned:
• Keep plenty of sunscreen with you and apply to all exposed skin from head to toe: including ears, lips, neck, hands and feet.
• Make sure the sunscreen that you purchase is broad-spectrum, water-resistant and has an SPF rating of 30 or higher.
• Reapply every two hours after swimming or sweating.

#2. Wear protective clothing and sunglasses
Sunscreen may be your best friend when it comes to skin cancer prevention, but it’s not your only one. Even if you use the most powerful sunscreen you can find, no sunscreen can block all of the sun’s rays.

So make sure that you:
• Wear lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and pants
• Wear sunglasses with UV protection.
• Wear a wide-brimmed hat

#3. Stay in the shade
The sun’s rays are most harmful to your skin from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. When possible, stay indoors or in the shade during these hours. If you have to go out during these hours, use an umbrella to block the sun or a wide-brimmed hat.

#4: Ban the Tan
One of the worst things you can do for your skin is tanning. Whether you tan indoors using a tanning bed or outdoors soaking up the sun, this unhealthy practice can lead to wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer. A golden glow can be deadly, so ban the tan. If you want brown skin, use a self-tanning product instead.

#5: Be vigilant around water, sand and snow
Water, sand and snow can be false friends when it comes to the sun’s harmful rays. Even though you might not feel the sun’s rays as much when you’re swimming, enjoying the water at the ocean’s edge, or snow skiing, the invisible rays are still doing their damage. Take extra care to wear plenty of sunscreen, protective clothing and glasses when you are around water, sand and snow.

#6: If you see something, say something
The good news about skin cancer is that when found early, it’s highly treatable.
That’s why you should conduct regular skin self-exams. If you see something new or suspicious – or anything that changes, itches or bleeds, see a skin doctor immediately. You are your first line of defense in protecting yourself from skin cancer.

#7: Have a professional skin screening once a year
Even if you perform regular skin self-exams, you should still see your skin doctor once a year for a professional screening. A skin doctor is trained in what to look for and will look at every inch of your skin to ensure that it’s healthy.

Respect the Sun, Protect Your Skin
The best way to protect your skin is to respect the sun. Just because you don’t feel the sun’s harmful rays, doesn’t mean they aren’t doing damage. Practice these seven safe sun habits and you can still enjoy the outdoors while keeping your skin safe and cancer-free.

If you haven’t had your annual skin cancer screening this year, call Price Skin Care Clinic at 601-992-3996 and schedule yours today. It’s never too late to start living ‘sun safe.’

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