Skin cells have the potential to become malignant and can lead to the development of cancer. In the U.S, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, with basal cell carcinoma (BCC) as the most common type of skin cancer and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) as the second most common type. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer that often spreads. The risk for melanoma increases with overexposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. It’s essential to know how to protect your skin and keep skin cancer at bay. Here are some useful tips on how to prevent skin cancer.

Get Checked Annually

Keeping track of skin changes can help to identify signs of skin cancer. An annual checkup with your dermatologist can help to examine any unusual changes that may be a sign of a severe issue. Non-healing pimple or what appears to be a normal mole could prove to be malignant. You may not know what to look for, but your dermatologist can offer insight that could save your life.

Apply Sunblock Everyday

Wear sunblock every day and often reapply, regardless if it’s a rainy or cloudy day. UV radiation filters through the cloud cover and does just as much damage as on a bright, sunny day. Apply sunblock 15-30 minutes before sun exposure, exercising or swimming and reapply every 2 hours. It’s essential to pay attention to the UV index and when it’s the highest-typically between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to appropriately reapply your sunscreen. A broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen that has both UVA and UVB protection and an SPF of 30 or above.

Avoid Sunbathing

Trying to get that sun-kissed tone, even after sunscreen application is not the best things for your skin. You are putting your health at risk because the sun’s ultraviolet rays can negatively impact the DNA of the skin cells. Damaged skin cells can lead to signs of aging and can have a severe consequence, like skin cancer. According to Harvard Health Publishing, longer, more penetrating UVA wavelengths may create highly reactive oxygen molecules that have the potential to damage skin cell membranes and the DNA inside. DNA changes can cause the genes to malfunction, and affected cells can become cancerous.

Skip the Tanning Beds

If you love to tan, you might want to rethink going to your next session. Unbelievable as it might sound, the UVA radiation level from indoor tanning beds can sometimes be more intense -up to three times more- than the UVA radiation given off by the sun. This dangerous radiation can result in cell mutation that can grow into cancerous tumors.

Skin cancer is a severe health issue, and the most common form of the disease that affects Americans. It’s cancer that is preventable if people take the necessary precautions to protect their skin. It’s smart to avoid overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, either from the sun or from tanning beds, get an annual checkup and to wear sunblock. You can play an active role in reducing your risk of developing skin cancer.