Be Skin Smart in the Sun

Learn what to watch for, and what to avoid

Wellness Update - - CLEVLAND CLINIC -

Skin can­cer is now the most com­mon form of can­cer in the United States. Melanoma — the dead­li­est skin can­cer — is on the rise among 15-to-29-year-olds. The main cul­prit for the in­crease in young peo­ple is in­door tan­ning. The good news is that most skin can­cers are highly treat­able when de­tected early, say Cleve­land Clinic der­ma­tol­o­gists. Self skin ex­ams and an­nual skin ex­ams from your doc­tor or der­ma­tol­o­gist are crit­i­cal if you’re at high risk of skin can­cer.

Risk fac­tors in­clude:

• A his­tory of in­door tan­ning • Skin that’s fair or that burns, freck­les or red­dens eas­ily • Per­sonal his­tory of skin can­cer • Fam­ily his­tory of melanoma • Heavy sun ex­po­sure at work or recre­ation­ally • Many sun­burns early in life • Blue or green eyes • Blonde or red hair • Cer­tain kinds of moles

Know your ABCDEs

To do a proper skin self-exam, be on the look­out for changes in moles and other skin le­sions. Watch for: Asym­me­try: the shape of one half doesn’t match the other Bor­der: edges that are ragged, blurred or poorly de­fined Color: vari­a­tions of brown, black, tan, and some­times patches of red, blue or white Di­am­e­ter: larger than the size of a pen­cil eraser Evolv­ing: le­sions that ap­pear to be chang­ing Le­sions with one or more of th­ese traits need to be checked as quickly as pos­si­ble by a der­ma­tol­o­gist. So do le­sions that bleed, scab, “come and go” or don’t heal. En­joy the out­doors with­out risk­ing your health. Ap­ply sun­screen lib­er­ally and fre­quently — even on cloudy days.

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