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The Importance of Protecting Your Skin From the Sun

Posted by Dr. Donna Restivo on Aug 2, 2019 3:50:00 PM

In Health Tips, skin care

In our previous post we discussed the importance of wearing sunscreen, and now we are going to dissect the many risk factors associated with skin cancer. The first thing that you'll want to know is that UV rays make their way to your skin by way of sunlight, tanning beds, and sunlamps, ultimately causing damage to the DNA of your skin cells. Believe it or not, UV rays only make up a very small portion of the sun’s rays, however; they are the main cause of sun damage to your skin. When you expose yourself to these harmful rays often and are a victim of frequent sunburns, you instantly put yourself at risk for skin damage that can result in cancer.

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Overall, using sunscreen is one of the top ways to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays, however; there are a few risk factors that may heighten your chance of developing melanoma skin cancer.

Age. It goes without saying that you will accumulate skin damage as you age, so it’s more common for an older person to be diagnosed with melanoma, the average age for this type of diagnosis is 63. However, melanoma is commonly found in women younger than 30.

Vulnerable immune system. Like all diseases and illnesses, you are more likely to develop melanoma when your immune system is in a weak state.

Family History. Genetics play a major role in a lot of ailments, and skin cancer is no exception. Nearly ten percent of those who have been diagnosed with melanoma have the disease in their family history. It’s particularly more risky if a person’s immediate family has skin cancer, such as a parent or sibling. While it’s typically a genetic risk factor, a person’s hobbies can also play a role in whether or not they get melanoma. For example, someone who has a family history of melanoma and also has an outdoor hobby, will be at an even higher risk.

Physical traits. If you have lighter hair and eyes, then you are more likely to be at risk for developing melanoma, especially if you have freckles or burn easily.

Gender. While women are more likely to develop skin cancer under the age of 50, men are at a greater risk of developing it when they are over 50.

Moles. While a mole isn’t a guarantee that you will be susceptible to skin cancer, those who have several moles are more likely to develop melanoma. The best thing you can do is to regularly check your moles for changes in color, shape or size, and have a dermatologist take a look at these “beauty marks” annually. 

 

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