A: Guidelines have been developed to help people protect their skin. If all four of these guidelines are followed, the risk of developing skin cancer is greatly reduced.
Guideline No. 1: Avoid the sun. Sunlight is the strongest during the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. During these hours the sun does the most damage. Sunburns and suntans are signs of skin damage, both of which are risks for developing skin cancer.
Guideline No. 2: Use sunscreen. Sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 should be applied 30 minutes prior to sun exposure. Cover all areas of the body that are exposed and repeat every hour that you are in the sun.
Guideline 3: Wear a wide brimmed hat, protective clothing, and sunglasses. Covering your body with hats and clothing reduces the amount of skin exposed to damaging sunrays. Sunglasses with UV-A and UV-B protection should also be worn to reduce the risk of eye damage, particularly cataracts.
Guideline No. 4: Don’t try to get a tan. Suntans, even without burning, are risks for skin cancer. Suntans are a form of sun damage and should be avoided. This includes suntans obtained from tanning beds.
Information from www.familydoctor.org, provided by Amy Lamberti, PA-C, Mercy East Family Medicine, 5900 E. University Ave., Suite 200, 643-2400.