How Can I Help Prevent Skin Cancer?

Learn how to prevent skin cancer from your Baton Rouge, LA, dermatologists.

Spending too much time in the sun not only results in bad burns; it can also increase your risk of skin cancer. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce your chances of developing this common disease. Drs. W. Trent Massengale and Jessica LeBlanc, dermatology specialists in Prairieville and Baton Rouge, LA, are here to share the important steps you can take to prevent skin cancer.Skin Cancer

Avoid burns

Preventing burns is the best way to prevent skin cancer. Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun's rays are the strongest. Find a spot under a shady tree at the beach or use an umbrella to avoid exposure to the sun.

Use sunscreen

Sun damage doesn't just happen during a day at the beach. You're exposed to the effects of the sun every minute that you spend outside. You can lower your risk by wearing SPF 15 or higher sunscreen every day, in every season. Look for products that protect from both UVA and UVB rays. If you tend to burn easily, buy products that offer SPF 30 or SPF 50 protection. Reapply sunscreen often for maximum protection, and be sure to put on a fresh layer after you swim.

Wear sunglasses

Exposure to the sun can also affect your eyes, causing melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer, and cataracts. Wraparound sunglasses provide the best protection from the sun's damaging rays. Make sure the glasses you choose block UV rays, because some fashion sunglasses may not provide adequate protection from the sun.

Stay away from tanning beds

Tanning beds are not a safer option than sunbathing. In fact, skin doctors report that indoor tanning has lead to an increase in the rates of melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Wear protective clothing

Protective clothing, combined with sunscreen, offers the best way to combat the effects of the sun. Wear hats, long sleeves and long pants when you can. If it's just too hot for heavy clothing, wear shirts or pants with built-in sun protection. Compare the ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of these garments before you buy them. If you choose a shirt with a UPF 30 rating, only 1/30th of the sun's rays will reach your skin, while a UPF 50 rating means that only 1/50th of the rays will penetrate your skin.

Contact your Prairieville and Baton Rouge dermatologist

Concerned that an unusual looking spot or mole might be a sign of skin cancer? Call your Prairieville and Baton Rouge, LA dermatologists, Drs. W. Trent Massengale and Jessica LeBlancat, at (255) 313-4560 for an appointment.

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