Over the last few years, the rates of melanoma have increased rapidly, making it one of the most common forms of skin cancer today. As a result, numerous public health campaigns have been geared towards addressing this issue. The most effective recourse is advising people to protect themselves from the harsh sun rays. Excessive exposure to the sun has been regarded as one of the highest risks of melanoma and many other forms of skin cancer as well. Today, more than one million Americans are being diagnosed with melanoma.
These cancerous growths typically develop when damaged DNA in skin cells activate mutations that make the skin cells multiply rapidly. Once they multiply, they form malignant tumors that form in the pigment-producing melanocytes located in the base layer of the epidermis. The damage to the skin cells is normally caused by UV radiation from different sources.
Unfortunately, no surefire way of preventing melanoma exists yet. This is due to the fact that contributing factors like your gender, age, race, and genetics can’t be controlled. However, there are several things that you can do to lower your risk and protect your skin from getting melanoma. Some of them include:
- Keep an Eye on Your Moles
Earlier on, we stated that melanoma occurs in the pigment-producing cells known as melanocytes. Now, moles are clusters of these melanocytes and are known to be harmless. However, these moles can also pose as a breeding ground for melanoma. You should be keen and observe any changes in color, borders, and the shape as well. If it is also growing faster than it used to, is bleeding, scaling, itching, or experiencing ulceration, you will need to visit a medical professional immediately. You can also check out mole removal: how to get rid of skin moles safely and see how you can get rid of the mole altogether.
- Be UV-conscious
As mentioned earlier, UV radiation is one of the biggest proponents of melanoma and other skin cancers. More specifically, UVA rays cause skin damage such as fine lines and wrinkles while UVB rays bring about sunburn and massive damage to your skin cells making you more susceptible to melanoma. Don’t be mistaken and think that these rays can only affect you when the sun is shining. Even on cloudy days, your skin is highly vulnerable to cell damage. So it is important that you take precautionary measures at all times.
- Always Wear Sunscreen
Make sunscreen a part of your daily skincare regimen. Ensure that you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. The sunscreen should have an SPF of at least 30 to ensure that your skin is safe from these harmful rays. As there are numerous options in the market, be sure to select one that is of the highest quality.
- Stay Away From Tanning Beds
While tanning beds may seem safe, they are actually one of the biggest sources of UV radiation through the tanning lamps and sun lamps. Studies have shown that they increase the risk of melanoma by a whopping 75%.
- Avoid the Hottest Rays
The sun’s rays are usually most intense between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. If you can, stay away from the sun during these hours. You can also practice the shadow rule. This suggests that the shorter your shadow, the hotter the sun rays. If you need to be out during this time, wear protective clothing such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, sunglasses and a hat. Your sunglasses need to have adequate UV absorption in order to protect you adequately.