Prevention is better than the cure. Developing a skin cancer in the first instance, is a risk factor for future skin cancers. Dr Anthony Maloof recommends an annual dermatology review, paying attention to your face questioning the appearance of every bump or change, and seeking out advice for any area of cancer. The patient is the most reliable monitor for change on the face, and a simple check weekly could save a lot of problems. Get a whole-body check to exclude that skin you can’t see…scalp, back, behind ears and backs of legs. Long term protection requires minimising UV damage, creams and moisturisers and protective clothing. Zinc or sun screen is preferable to any UV marketed moisturiser.
Top 10 tips for Prevention from Sun Damage
Sunscreen is a must – everyday including cloudy days
Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to venturing into the sun. Don’t forget your lips.
There are 2 types of sun rays – UVA and UVB. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to cover both types. Go for a higher SPF of 30 or more.
Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours as it does not last forever. If you are running around and sweating or swimming, then you will need to reapply more often.
Be mindful of your surroundings as reflected rays from the sun can still burn you. This includes water, clouds, snow and even sand.
Clothes play an important factor in keeping you sun safe. To maximise protection, look for clothes that advertise an SPF rating as these will be made with specific materials. Long sleeves and pants will cover more of your skin so are a sensible choice if out in the sun. Darker clothing is better than lighter clothing at blocking the sun.
Wide brimmed hats that cover your face and neck are recommended. Pair this with a set of sunglasses to protect your eyes from reflected sun rays. Check that the sunglasses that you are using have UV protection to maximise the prevention of damage.
Infants need to be kept out of the sun and protected as they cannot protect themselves. Keep shaded as much as possible.
The sun is most damaging in the middle of the day. Stay out of the sun between 10 AM and 2 PM. Also be cautious on either side of these times, maximise your time in the shade and always be sun safe.
Some medications can make you more sensitive to the sun’s rays. Check with your treating doctor if any of the medications you take fit into this category.