5 Ways To Prevent Skin Cancer

#1 Wear sunblock every day and reapply.

Just because it’s cloudy, doesn’t mean you should ditch the sunscreen – UV radiation can still filter through the cloud cover and cause damage to your skin. “If exercising or in the water, sunscreen should be reapplied every 20 minutes. Reapplication is particularly important when UV index is the highest, which is usually between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” says Dr. Hooman Khorasani, a skin cancer surgeon and chief of the division of Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

#2 Get an annual checkup.

Annual visits to your dermatologist are a good way to keep track of skin changes. These changes are where skin cancer shows up, so they need to be checked out when they turn up. “Often what may look like a nonhealing pimple or a normal mole to a novice may in fact be skin cancer,” says Dr. Angela Lamb, associate professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. ”

#3 Skip the sunbathing session.

You’ve applied sunscreen, but are you still directly exposing your skin to the sun? Seeking that sun-kissed complexion can have dangerous consequences. “Sunbathing is bad because ultraviolet rays are harmful to the DNA of the cells in the skin. When those cells get damaged it leads to signs of aging and then skin cancer,” Lamb says. At the beach, reapply a water-resistant broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every two to three hours, and much more often if you’re in the water or sweating a lot.

#4 Avoid tanning beds.

The radiation from indoor tanning beds is sometimes stronger than radiation from the sun. This can cause skin cell mutations, explains Dr. Gary Goldenberg, assistant clinical professor of dermatology and pathology at the Icahn Sinai School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “Once cells are mutated, they continue to grow into tumors that are cancerous

#5 Wear protective clothing

Although it’s tempting to lose the clothing, keep those shirts on, Ratner says. Better yet, seek protective clothing instead of traditional cotton fibers. She recommends seeking sun protective clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor – or UPF rating. A UPF 50 rating means that one in 50 of the sun’s rays reaches the skin.