With spring approaching and sun-filled months on the horizon, sun protection is a primary concern. While applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher provides consistent protection from sun rays, there are additional strategies to lower the risk of skin cancer. First and foremost, a properly implemented skin care routine is a necessity for year-round skin cancer prevention.
Apply Sunscreen Daily
Generous application of a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher protects the skin from harmful sun rays. Make sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours when outdoors, and cover all exposed skin.
Avoid the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest and most harmful to the skin. Cover exposed facial skin with a wide-brimmed hat to further block UVA and UVB rays.
Maintain a Gentle Routine
Treat your skin with care and reduce the negative effects of daily cleansing and shaving by avoiding strong soaps and detergents that can strip oil from the skin. Limiting bath and shower time is also beneficial, as long periods under hot water can remove skin oils. Use mild cleansers and warm water to ensure a gentle routine, followed by a moisturizer customized for your skin type. Shaving carefully with creams or gels, and gently patting your skin dry after bathing, can also help retain moisture.
Incorporate Retinoid Products
Topical retinoids such as tretinoin can help diminish actinic keratosis and temporarily prevent the occurrence of basal cell carcinomas. Incorporating a retinoid can also reduce fine lines, dark spots, and other signs of aging directly linked to sun exposure.
Try Resurfacing Procedures
Incorporating resurfacing facial procedures such as acid peels and dermabrasion, which work to remove the top layers of the skin where precancerous cells are often found, can help prevent skin cancer. The use of these procedures has produced promising results in treatment protocols and the prevention of pre-cancers.
Self-Examine the Skin Regularly
Alongside the preventive measures outlined above, performing regular skin self-exams can help detect skin cancer at its early stages: when it is easiest to treat.
According to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, there are approximately 5.4 million new cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancers diagnosed each year in the U.S—a number that has continuously risen. Incorporating the aforementioned preventive steps into your skincare routine can help combat skin cancer and other skin-related diseases, while also ensuring early detection: which ultimately greatly increases the efficacy of later treatment.