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Fresh new tips on how to protect yourself from skin cancer

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In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we’d like to take the time to remind everyone of some of the best ways to prevent skin cancer. With the startling numbers behind the skin cancer epidemic, it’s safe to say we could all use a friendly reminder to be doing just a little bit more to protect ourselves.

While we won’t spend time telling you the importance of using a broad-spectrum sunscreen, wearing sunglasses and a hat, or seeking shade while you’re in the sun, we do want to remind you of some things that may not always be top of mind.

1. No, your makeup does not provide adequate protection from the sun.  

The shocking truth is, you need 7 times the normal amount of foundation, and 14 times the normal amount of powder to get the sun protection factor on the label.

I always recommend my patients invest in a great all in one moisturizer/sunscreen/tint. These will provide a great base of protection that you can touch up throughout the day to ensure you’re keeping the skin cancers and wrinkles away.

2. Did you know some medications can increase your risks of sun damage?

Certain prescription medications, including some antibiotics and antidepressants, have been identified as “sun-sensitizing,” which means they can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Not only does this mean you can burn more easily while outdoors, but the damage can be far greater, and over time, increase your chances of developing skin cancer.

If you’re taking any of these types of medications, it’s best to avoid direct sunlight and stay in the shade as much as possible.

3. Incorporate as many antioxidant-rich foods into your diet as possible.

UV exposure can deplete antioxidants in the body so it’s important to replace them in order to give your body a stronger defense system for fighting off the free radicals that can contribute to skin cancer.  

Foods high in antioxidants include things like tomatoes, fatty fish such as salmon, freshly brewed green tea, almonds, spinach, and black beans.

4. Visit your dermatologist at least once a year for a full-body exam.

You should perform monthly self-exams to look for any signs of new or unusual growths as well as any changes in existing spots. Check from head to toe, and if you see any suspicious growths, be sure to schedule a visit with your doctor right away, if even just to be on the safe side.

In addition to these monthly self-screenings, get checked by your doctor or dermatologist annually. With a trained eye and knowing exactly what’s cause for concern, they’re going to be able to give you a more thorough screening.

Skin cancer is an epidemic and according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer before age 70. This means NOW is the time to take precautions and make sure you’re protecting yourself each and every time you’re in the sun.

Learn more about skin cancer prevention at Skin Wellness Center of Alabama in Birmingham, AL

At Skin Wellness Center of Alabama, we offer cutting-edge skin care and dermatology services to our patients in the Greater Birmingham area, including Hoover and Homewood. At our offices in Birmingham & Chelsea, AL, our certified dermatologists are here to listen to your concerns and offer the individualized, high level of patient care you seek. We believe in making care accessible and affordable, and we will go out of our way to accommodate your visit. Give us a call today at 205-871-7332.