Skin Cancer Prevention Through the Years
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. Sunscreen helps prevent UV radiation from damaging your skin and reduces your risk for skin cancer. Here’s what you need to know to ensure sun protection throughout life.
Start Sun Protection Early
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that health care providers should educate parents of fair-skinned children about ways to prevent skin cancer—starting when the child is 6 months old.
It’s OK to use sunscreen on infants older than 6 months. For babies younger than 6 months old, try to keep them out of the sun.
When kids are exposed to UV radiation during childhood and adolescence, they have an increased risk of developing skin cancer in adulthood. Here are some tips kids should learn now and carry with them throughout life:
- Peak UV hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. During this time, avoid direct sunlight by finding shade or going inside.
- Select sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 or higher. It should be broad-spectrum and block both UVA and UVB rays.
- Thirty minutes before you go outside, apply sunscreen. Reapply every two hours or after sweating excessively or swimming.
- In addition to sunscreen, use UV-blocking sunglasses, sun-protective clothing, and a broad-brimmed hat when you’re outside.
- Avoid tanning beds.
Schedule Regular Skin Exams
It’s important to recognize if you, or your children, have a higher risk for skin cancer. Talk with a doctor about how frequently to get your skin checked if you:
- Have a lot of moles
- Get freckles easily when exposed to the sun
- Sunburn easily
- Use tanning beds
- Have a naturally light skin tone
- Have blue or green eyes
- Have blond or red hair
- Have a family or personal history of skin cancer
Find a Dermatologist
For a list of dermatology services at WCHN, or to find a dermatologist near you, click here: