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Tips To Prevent Skin Cancer And What To Look For

Keep your skin safe all year long with these helpful tips. 

One thing is for certain: Coloradans love the great outdoors. From warm-weather hikes to powder-perfect skiing, there is so much that our great state has to offer. The only downside is the amount of time we spend out in the sun. While getting out in the sun for short periods can boost vitamin D, which we all know is great for your health, too much sun can lead to damage and increase your risk for cancer. Our Lafayette, CO, dermatologist Dr. Thomas Gallagher and the team at Boulder Valley Center for Dermatology want to protect your skin year-round with these helpful tips,

Put on Sunscreen 

You may be reaching for the moisturizer every chance you get. The wind and the cold can do quite a number on your skin, leaving you chapped and dry. However, it’s the UV rays that actually cause wrinkles. So anytime you decide to go outside, you should put on sunscreen that offers at least SPF 15 and protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Always apply about a half hour before going outside and reapply every two hours, or more frequently if sweating or in the water.

Since 30 percent of skin cancers develop on the nose, you might want to make sure you apply sunscreen a little more generously to this area before going outside.

Wear a Hat 

Melanoma of the head and neck is considered more dangerous in these areas of the body than in any other area. However, there is an easy way to protect yourself during the winter: wear a hat. Opt for thick, tightly woven hats with a wide brim to keep the sun out of your face. Also, look for dark or brightly colored hats that will soak up some of the UV rays.

Opt for Earmuffs 

Sure, ears seem like such a small part of the body, but they still need to be protected nonetheless. The easiest way to protect them is to put on sunscreen or to wear a hat; however, if you want to be a bit cozier this winter, then snag a warm pair of earmuffs.

Sport Shades 

Sunglasses aren’t just for those warm beach days. UV radiation can still damage the area around your eyes, so be sure to grab those sunglasses before leaving the house.

While you should be performing self-exams to look for changes in your skin, you should also see your dermatologist every year for skin cancer screenings. Talk to us about how often you should come in for screenings.

What to Look For 

It’s important to recognize the warning signs of both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. Telltale signs of a possibly cancerous mole include,

  • Asymmetry
  • A ragged or poorly defined border
  • Color changes or the development of multiple colors
  • Moles larger than a pencil eraser

Moles stay relatively the same over time, so if you notice any changes to a mole it’s a good idea to call us. After all, many cancerous moles are first spotted by the person themselves. Even if moles look fine, you should still turn to our Lafayette, Boulder, and Brighton, CO, dermatologist at least once a year for a professional skin cancer screening.

Protect your skin from skin cancer by turning to our Lafayette, Boulder, and Brighton, CO, dermatologist Dr. Gallagher and the team at Boulder Valley Center for Dermatology. To schedule your skin cancer screening, call (303) 604-1444.

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