May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and with skin cancer being the most common form of cancer in the United States, there’s good reason to pay attention. One in five Americans develops skin cancer in their lifetime, but that doesn’t have to be you. Luckily, skin cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer. In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, the Mount Sinai Medical Center experts share these tips to keep your skin safe and cancer-free:
Get an annual checkup: Annual visits to a board-certified dermatologist to monitor changes in your skin appearance are just as important as annual physicals and regular trips to the dentist. Nearly 50 percent of UV exposure occurs between the ages of 19-40. In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, SkinCeuticals will be sponsoring free, full body skin cancer checks at select dermatologist offices across the country.
Wear sunblock every day: Sunblock is not just for the summer. You should apply it thoroughly to your body, eyes, lips, ears and feet—every day, year-round and avoid these mistakes.
Never intentionally sunbathe: You might not immediately realize the damage you’re doing by sunbathing, because it takes 10-20 years for skin damage to catch up with you, but sun dissolves the collagen and elastin in your skin which keeps your skin healthy.
Watch your brown spots and freckles: Do self-skin checks every month. If you have a lot of brown spots, talk to your dermatologist about total body photography so your doctor can keep a photographic record of your moles and watch closely for any change.
Follow the ABCDEs: Tell your dermatologist if your moles have:
• Asymmetry, where one half of the mole is unlike the other half
• Borders that are irregular, ragged, notched or poorly defined
• Color that varies from one area to another, with shades of tan and brown, black, sometimes white, pink, red or blue
• Diameters that are the size of a pencil eraser or larger
• Elevation, when a mole or skin lesion is raised and/or has an uneven surface.