CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Ultraviolet or UV rays that come from the sun damage the DNA of skin cells and can cause skin cancer. The more exposure, the greater the risk. Todd Schlesinger, the Director of Dermatology and Laser Center of Charleston says skin cancer is on the rise.
“Basal cells, squamous cell melanoma are all major concerns that we see in our dermatology practice,” said Schlesinger.
According to Cancer.org, these cancers usually develop in the most vulnerable areas that are usually exposed to the sun the most, like the face and the neck. Keeping yourself protected means first and foremost wearing sun protective clothing like a hat.
“It’s very important to cover up when we’re outside,” Schlesinger said. “We already get enough sun in our daily lives to get enough vitamin D so we don’t need extra.”
Avoid peak sun times from 10 a.m. to four p.m. The easiest thing to do is to check the UV index right on your smartphone. It’ll give you an idea of how strong the UV light is in your area.
“Sunscreen’s very important. We recommend SPF, sun protection factor rating of at least 30 to 50,” said Schlesinger.
Apply it everywhere and apply it often, especially if you’re going in the water or are sweating. Or even if you’re just doing any outside activity like yard work or playing sports.
You should also check in with your dermatologist at least once a year.
“So really just looking at the body head to toe,” Schlesinger said. “Checking the skin to make sure there are no suspicious moles or other lesions that we might want to check.”
Unless you’ve already been diagnosed with skin cancer.
“We may change those guidelines to maybe three months or six months depending on your previous diagnosis,” said Schlesinger.
If you discover a dark mole or spot on your body, consult with your dermatologist immediately.