Although anyone can be at risk for developing skin cancer, there are some factors that can put some at a greater risk than others. It is important to make yourself aware of some of the main risk factors for the development of skin cancer and some of the things you can do to reduce their impact.
Ultraviolet Light Exposure
Because UV rays damage the DNA of skin cells, UV exposure without protection is one of the greatest risk factors for developing skin cancer. Some common sources of ultraviolet light exposure include sunlight, tanning beds and sun lamps. If possible, limit or even eliminate your exposure to artificial UV light. If you are going to be out in the sun, make sure you cover up and use sunscreen.
People who have light, fair skin and light hair and eyes have greater risk for skin cancer. If your skin freckles or easily burns with sun exposure, you’ll want to pay close attention to the amount of UV exposure you’re getting. It’s especially important for those with fair skin to use high SPF sunscreen or wear clothing that covers your skin when out in the sunshine.
Moles are typically not harmful on their own, but if you have a lot of them, you may be at a greater risk for skin cancer. Look for any moles that may be changing or appear atypical in shape or color. If you do suspect that you have a mole that may be problematic, consult your dermatologist right away.
Although taking the necessary precautions to reduce your risk for skin cancer may require a little extra planning, that bit of extra effort can be tremendously beneficial to your health down the road.