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The Skin Cancer Epidemic: How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones.

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

Woman wearing a sun-protective hat.
Woman wearing a wide-brimmed hat.

Sun protection is an essential aspect of skin care, as the sun's harmful UV rays can cause skin cancer and other conditions. According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with more than 3.5 million cases diagnosed each year.

At Mid-County Dermatology, our team of dermatologists in St. Louis is dedicated to helping our patients protect their skin from the sun and prevent skin cancer. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Be sure to apply it to all exposed skin, and reapply every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating.

  2. Seek shade, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun's rays are the strongest.

  3. Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat.

  4. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and the skin around them.

  5. Avoid tanning beds, which can be just as damaging to your skin as the sun.

It's also important to perform self-exams on your skin regularly, and to see a dermatologist for regular check-ups. If you notice any changes in your skin, such as a new mole or a change in the size, shape, or color of an existing mole, be sure to schedule an appointment with our dermatology team by calling 314-994-0200/

In addition to protecting your skin from the sun, it's also important to protect your skin from other environmental factors, such as pollution and wind. These can cause your skin to age prematurely, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.

Sunscreen Facts:

  1. Sunscreen was first developed in the 1930s, but it wasn't until the 1970s that it became widely used.

  2. Sunscreen works by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering the sun's harmful UV rays.

  3. Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed skin, including the face, neck, ears, and the tops of your feet.

  4. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours, or after swimming or sweating.

  5. Sunscreen should be used year-round, not just during the summer months or when you're at the beach.

  6. Sunscreen can expire, so be sure to check the expiration date before using it.

  7. You should use enough sunscreen to fill a small glass (about 1 ounce) to properly cover your body.

  8. Sunscreen should be applied 15-30 minutes before going outside to allow it time to fully absorb into the skin.

  9. Water-resistant sunscreen should be reapplied after 40-80 minutes of swimming or sweating.

  10. Some medications and skincare products can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so be sure to check the label and use sunscreen if necessary.

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