How to choose the right sunblock

There are three types of primary skin cancers: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma. The most common form of skin cancer is BCC, which typically appears as a non-healing or pearly-appearing raised bump or papule. The lesion will often bleed and may form an ulcerated portion with q pearly border around the lesion. The most common location for BCC is chronically sun-exposed area and it rarely metastasizes or spreads in the body.

The second most common skin cancer is SCC, which typically appears as a scaly, crusted, hard bump that does not completely heal or resolve. Similar to BCC, squamous cell carcinoma is usually located on sun-exposed areas like the arms, upper trunk, face and scalp. SCC may metastasize at times, but usually when located in a high-risk area of the body or is an aggressive variant. 

The third most common, but the most deadly skin cancer is melanoma. Melanoma usually appears as a changing, irregular-shaped or irregular-colored mole or nevus. It is associated with sun-exposed areas and most commonly found on the back or back of the legs. However, melanoma does not need the sun to develop so you need to monitor any moles located on your skin. Melanoma has a high risk of metastasizing; especially the deeper it invades the skin. Data shows that someone dies of melanoma every hour in the US. If you have a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) then you may be at an increased risk of developing melanoma due to genetics and should have at least an annual skin exam by a provider.

The sun emits harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays year round, so it’s important for you to apply sunscreen every time you go outside. The principle forms of ultraviolet radiation – UVA and UVB – are known to contribute to skin cancer, wrinkling and skin aging. To get the most protection, use a product that filters out a significant proportion of both types. All sunscreens protect against UVB rays, but only some protect against UVA.

You can tell how effectively a particular sunscreen protects skin from sunburn by the SPF number. Higher number SPFs block slightly more of the sun’s rays but no sunscreen can block 100% of the sun’s rays. High-number SPFs last the same amount of time as low-number SPFs and should be applied approximately every two hours when you’re outside.

Find out more about Advanced Dermatology at http://advanceddermclinic.com/

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