How to Lower Your Risk for Melanoma

Jul 03, 2023
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, but the good news is there’s a lot you can do to reduce your chances of getting it. Read on to get tips on lowering your risk for melanoma and other skin cancers.

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. While it only makes up 1% of all skin cancers diagnosed in the United States, it causes the most deaths. This is because it spreads much more rapidly than other types.

Melanoma should be taken seriously, and the good news is that there are steps you can take to lower your risk of getting it. Our providers at Advanced Laser and Skin Cancer Center in Teaneck, New Jersey, are here to help.

We offer advanced melanoma detection and treatment, and in this blog, we explore effective strategies for protecting your skin and overall health.

Wear sunscreen every day

One of the best ways to lower your risk for melanoma is the simplest: Wear sunscreen every day. Sunscreen is a physical barrier that helps protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is the leading cause of skin cancer.

Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher whenever you go outdoors, regardless of the season or the weather. If you’re swimming or sweating, remember to reapply every two hours.

Limit your sun exposure

Sunscreen is essential, but it shouldn’t be your only defense against the sun. The sun is typically strongest from 10am-4pm, so seek shade or stay indoors during peak hours.

If you need to be outside, wear protective clothing. Choose a wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt, and pants. Wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays to safeguard your eyes from sun damage.

Avoid tanning beds

Tanning beds promise to give you a sunkissed glow, but all tanning beds emit UV radiation. Using tanning beds can significantly increase your risk for melanoma. In fact, even occasional usage can be detrimental to your skin's health.

Instead, consider using self-tanning products, such as lotions and creams. These products can deliver a tanned look without the harmful effects of excessive UV exposure.

Check your skin regularly

Along with protecting your skin, performing regular self-exams can help you identify any suspicious changes early on. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a full-body self-exam once a month.

Examine your skin from head to toe, including hard-to-reach areas, such as your back. Look for:

  • New moles or growths
  • Changes in the size, shape, or color of existing moles
  • Any unusual sores that don't heal

If you notice any concerning changes, make a dermatologist appointment for further evaluation.

Get professional skin checks annually

Finally, schedule regular skin checks with a dermatologist. Our team is trained to detect early signs of skin cancer.

If we identify any suspicious areas, we do additional testing and develop a customized treatment plan to address your needs. Depending on your risk factors and personal history, we may recommend more frequent skin exams.

Lowering your risk for melanoma requires a proactive approach, but it can make a big difference for your health. Prevention is key, and we’re here to help you take the necessary steps to protect your skin from harmful UV radiation.

To learn more about melanoma prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, call 201-836-9696 or book an appointment online with Advanced Laser and Skin Cancer Center today.