Preventing Melanoma: 5 Things You Can Do

Melanoma is on the rise. The most dangerous type of skin cancer, it is the leading cause of death from skin disease. Precautions can be taken to minimize your risk of developing melanoma and the disease can be avoided. As we head into summer, here are 5 things you can do:

  1. Avoid indoor tanning booths especially if you are young. Despite information regarding the dangers of tanning booths, they are still being used.
  2. Minimize your exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Not only does it age your skin by causing collagen to break down, UV radiation can also impair enzymes that repair DNA. Just one blistering sunburn during childhood increases your likelihood of developing melanoma. Protect your skin by covering up and staying out of sunlight during its most intense hours (between 10 am and 4 pm).
  3. Fake It. If you insist on sporting a bronzed glow do it safely with a fake tan. Opt for a spray tan or apply one yourself at home with a product like Fake Bake. Formulated with dihydroxyacetone (DHA), sunless tanners darken the skin by reacting with amino acids on the skin’s surface.
  4. Wear sunscreen. Apply an effective UVA/UVB blocking sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 like Anthelios. Remember to reapply every two hours, especially if you are active or exposed to sweat or water. And make sure you slather it on. Studies show that many of us do not apply enough sunscreen to protect the skin.
  5. Check skin regularly. The ABCDEs of melanoma, developed by the American Academy of Dermatology, is a guide to look for irregular moles. Monthly self-exams, especially if you are lighter skinned or have a family history of melanoma, are a good idea. Early detection of melanoma can save your life.