There is no surefire way to prevent melanoma, but there are several things you can do to lessen the likelihood that you will get it over the course of your life. Most moles do not turn into melanoma, but some do, and it's important to pay attention to your own skin. Follow these tips for protecting your skin throughout the year.
- Get to know your own skin by performing monthly skin checks. If you notice any new moles or changes in existing moles like asymmetry, border irregularity, or color changes, make an appointment with your dermatologist right away. In addition, plan to have a full body check annually by your doctor. If your doctor notices anything suspicious, he may remove it to biopsy.
- Since ultraviolet rays are a major cause of melanoma, it is important to protect your skin year-round from sun damage. Apply a sunscreen with a high SPF to your face and body before heading outdoors every day. Brush on Block is perfect to add to your skin care routine. It is a mineral-based sunblock that won't irritate your skin. Even on cloudy days, the sun's strong rays can damage your skin. Avoid sitting out between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun's rays are the strongest.
- When possible, seek shade. If you know you will be outside for long periods of time, find a shady spot or cover up with a wide-brimmed hat and protective clothing. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and the skin around them.
- Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps. Tanning beds give off UV rays which can cause melanoma or other skin cancers.
If you've had melanoma, there is a higher chance that you will have it again in the future. Be sure to be vigilant about protecting the area that was affected, as well as any exposed skin. Continue to get your skin checked as often as your doctor recommends.