Most of us know how sun exposure can increase our risk of developing skin cancer. We put on sunscreen, avoid the sun during peak hours, protect ourselves with hats, sunglasses and clothing, and regularly get our skin checked.
But did you know there are other factors that can raise your risk of getting skin cancer? Knowledge is our greatest weapon. Know these not-so-common risk factors to protect the skin you live in!
1) Indoor Tanning
Using a tanning bed, booth, or sunlamp to get tan can cause skin cancers, according to the CDC. These cancers include melanoma (the deadliest type), basal cell carcinoma (cells located at the lower levels of the epidermis), and squamous cell carcinoma (cells located at the higher levels of the epidermis).
This type of tanning is especially dangerous for younger users who tend to start during adolescence or early adulthood, which increases their risk of getting melanoma. Artificial tanning can also cause cataracts and cancers of the eye.
Avoid tanning salons to reduce your risk of skin cancer, and if you really want a sun-kissed glow, try a self-tanning lotion. Most dermatologists consider self-tanners to be much safer than obtaining a tan from the cancer-causing UV radiation that comes from the sun or tanning booths, according to Skincancer.org doctor Melanie D. Palm, MD, MBA.
Palm recommends that you always use such products in conjunction with a broad spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15, or an SPF of 30 or greater if you plan to stay outdoors for extended periods of time. Use an ounce (2 tablespoons) of your broad spectrum sunblock to cover your entire body.
2) Fair Skin and a History of Sunburns
If you have a fair complexion, naturally blonde or red hair, blue eyes and freckles, you might be at an increased risk for developing skin cancer. These people have a higher tendency to burn rather than tan, and thus should pay extra attention to sun protection.
Skin that has suffered from burns or sunburns in the past, or has been injured by disease, also has a higher risk of developing skin cancer.Read more in Your Ultimate Guide to Beautiful Skin