In last week’s blog, we discussed the importance of staying away from tanning beds. We felt it a necessary topic to address because, with summer winding down, many people seek out tanning beds to maintain their summer-induced tans during the fall. It needs to be reiterated, however, that doing so is extremely dangerous. Not the least of the problems that could occur due to roasting yourself in a tanning bed is the development of melanoma.
Melanoma, which is a type of skin cancer, is generally first detected by the appearance of moles on the skin. And while moles are often considered a genetic trait, they can still appear if we are not taking measures to avoid the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. As we mentioned last week, tanning beds actually give out greater doses of UV rays than the sun. This should be avoided at all costs.
In fact, instead of subjecting yourself to more harmful UV rays this fall, do your best to take measures to avoid them. The development of melanoma is in no way worth getting the ideal tan for the duration of the year. Even if we’re avoiding tanning beds, it’s important to remember, as well, that even when the weather isn’t hot, UV rays are still attacking us. Here are five ways to keep moles at bay.
1. Wear protective clothing. This will be a lot easier to do once the weather cools. But remember that wearing clothing that covers more of you has more benefits than just keeping you warm. It can protect you from skin cancer as well. “Exposure to direct sunlight can be prevented by wearing lightweight clothing that covers your arms, legs and body,” reminds Adeeba Folami on eHow.com.
2. Don’t forget the hats. Even when we remember to wear clothing that covers up our arms and legs, we sometimes neglect our faces. Weird, considering that it’s the part of our bodies that people see the most, isn’t it? On OnHealth.com, Dr. Gary W. Cole reminds us to wear wide-brimmed hats that provide at least six inches of coverage. This will help to stave off not only moles, but the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes over time.
3. Use sunscreen. It’s doubtful that you’ll ever find a list of tips on how to avoid skin cancer and not find “use sunscreen” on it. It needs to be stressed, however, that this is a practice that should be continued all year round. Too many of us see sunscreen as a “summer thing”. Both Folami and Dr. Cole agree that the use of sunscreen is necessary. While Folami suggests an SPF rating of at least 30, Dr. Cole suggests 50 as an ideal SPF.
4. Limit sun exposure. “Excessive time in the sun has been shown to increase the number of moles on your body,” writes Folami, “so it is recommended that you avoid direct sunlight until early evening, when the sun’s rays begin to lose strength.” Generally, the hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. are considered those when the sun’s UV rays are at its most severe. Dr. Cole refers to these as “peak sun hours”. Remember, this is true whether the weather is hot or not.
5. Know your family history. According to Folami, “It may not be possible to prevent the onset of moles that occur naturally in everyone, but if you have a family history of skin cancer, you can likely reduce chances of getting the disease by practicing prevention at an early age. You can lessen your children’s chances of disease and premature appearance of skin moles by doing the same.”
If, however, you still notice moles on your skin that you’d like to look into, please feel free to contact the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre. We proudly use The VariLite Laser to remove moles. For more information or to book a consultation, please don’t hesitate to call us at 403-358-5818.