Sponsored by The Baton Rouge Clinic
Over a lifetime, sun exposure from everyday activities like biking, working, running, or even mowing the lawn can vastly increase the risk of developing skin cancer. These everyday tasks can lead to periods of prolonged sun exposure. Sunlight emits ultraviolet (UV) rays, which add up over time, increasing the risk of developing skin cancer. Indoor and outdoor tanning can also increase your risk and can lead to premature signs of aging, such as wrinkles and spots.
One of every five Americans will develop skin cancer (the most common form of cancer) by the age of 70. Melanoma, which is a form of skin cancer, is the deadliest. On average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if they have had more than five sunburns—but just one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life. Melanomas commonly appear on the legs of women, and the upper torso of men, but they can develop anywhere on the skin, even areas that are not exposed to direct sunlight. Melanomas and other skin cancers are easily treatable when detected early.
Dermatologists at the Baton Rouge Clinic are leaders in the field of medical and surgical dermatology, as well as aesthetic and cosmetic procedures. Skincare experts like Dr. Emily Richard see patients of all ages and use the latest technology to formulate individualized treatment plans.
Warning signs: Signs of sun damage include freckles, brown spots, red spots, and wrinkles. If you notice any spots that are not healing, bleed easily, have grown quickly, or are changing (especially if you have a family history of skin cancer), contact a board-certified dermatologist for further examination.
“Those with fair skin, light hair, and light eyes have a higher risk of developing skin cancer and should take extra precaution with regards to sun protection and sun exposure,” Dr. Richard says. “However, no skin type is immune to developing skin cancer. As the saying goes, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’”
An ounce of prevention:
Here is the good news. It is easy to protect yourself from exposure to harmful UV rays. Dr. Richard offers these easy tips to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer:
1. If you plan to be outside for prolonged periods of time, apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating. Incorporate sun protection into your daily regimen to areas of the body such as your face, ears, and backs of your hands.
2. Use sun protective clothing such as hats, clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) and sunglasses.
3. Seek shade when possible.
4. Avoid the sun during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
5. Don’t use tanning beds.