May is skin cancer awareness month! As we gear up for summer sun, we want to take a few moments to remind our patrons to protect their skin while they’re out and about. Not only does doing so prevent premature aging, it also significantly lowers your risk of skin cancer. Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays is the biggest and most preventable factor for all skin cancers. Proactively protecting your skin is the best way to prevent skin cancer.
Practice Safe Sun By:
- Staying in the shade when possible. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10am and 2pm. If you will be out and about during these hours, you can limit exposure by sticking to shady spaces as much as possible. Set up for sporting events in the shade or under pavilions or tents.
- Wearing protective clothing. Hats and sunglasses will help block rays from reaching your face and neck, but don’t stop there. If possible, try wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants. Loose attire or breathable cotton fabrics may make this more tolerable during swealterin weather.
- Applying a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Broad-spectrum sunscreen provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays and it is important to apply it to all skin that is not covered by clothing, even on cloudy days, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
If you notice new or changing spots or moles on your skin, contact your dermatologist. Many forms of skin cancer, including melanoma, are very treatable if caught early. To check your skin for warning signs of melanoma, perform a skin self-exam. Read more about how to perform a self-exam here. To check for melanoma, consult the ABCDE rule during your self-exam.
- A symmetry: One half does not match the other half.
- Border irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched or blurred.
- Color: The pigmentation is not uniform. Different shades of tan, brown or black are often present. Dashes of red, white, and blue can add to a mottled appearance.
- Diameter: While melanomas are usually greater than 6mm in diameter when diagnosed, they can be smaller.
- Evolving: The mole or skin lesion looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.
If you notice any questionable freckles, moles, or other questionable spots/marks on your skin, schedule an appointment with your board-certified dermatologist. Savannah River Dermatology is located at 575 Furys Ferry Rd in Augusta, Ga. For appointments or other questions, our office can be reached at 706-691-7079.