May is Melanoma Awareness Month, and although melanoma is the skin cancer most people are aware of, it’s not the only deadly one. “Squamous-cell carcinoma kills more people now in this country than melanoma and basal cell carcinoma,” says Dr. Gerald Peters of Peters Dermatology Center in Bend. “Squamous-cell and basal cell are the two most common non-melanoma skin cancers and they cause a lot of damage.” When you're protecting yourself against melanoma, you're also protecting yourself against these non-melanoma skin cancers. Here, Dr. Peters gives tips for prevention:
1.) Timing and Avoidance. The midday sun is strong, so it's better to be out earlier or later in the day.
2.) Protective Clothing. There are some excellent UPF [Ultraviolet Protection Factor] fabrics available today. Look for hats and sunglasses with UV protection in the 99% range.
3.) Topical Coverage. Select products that have physical filters, agents or blockers such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide. For adequate protection, find products that contain 5% or more of those ingredients. Don’t forget to protect your lips as well.
Dr. Peters says he’s been encouraging patients to move away from chemical blockers. “They convert ultraviolet into infrared energy, but when you use a physical blocker it reflects the sun off the skin. They also work immediately, not 20 minutes after application.”
Peters Dermatology Center carries a wide range of high-quality, effective products such as EltaMD®, TIZO, and ALASTIN Skincare®. People often tune out when you speak of statistics, he says, but one thing many do care about is the way they look. “Photoaging makes you look old before your time because those ultraviolet rays destroy the elastic fibers in your skin.”
To find out more about how to protect your skin and schedule a skin cancer screening, visit PetersDerm.com