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Cosmetic Procedures: Sun Exposure and Skin Cancer

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How Can I Help Prevent Skin Cancer?

Nothing can completely undo sun damage, although the skin can sometimes repair itself. So, it's never too late to begin protecting yourself from the sun. Your skin does change with age -- for example, you sweat less and your skin can take longer to heal, but you can delay these changes by staying out of the sun. Follow these tips to help prevent skin cancer:

  • Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater 30 minutes before sun exposure and every 2 hours thereafter, more if you are sweating or swimming.
  • Select clothing, cosmetic products, and contact lenses that offer UV protection.
  • Wear sunglasses with total UV protection and a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face and neck.
  • Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible during peak UV radiation hours (between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.).
  • Perform skin self-exams regularly to become familiar with existing growths and to notice any changes or new growths.
  • Eighty percent of a person's lifetime sun exposure is acquired before age 18. As a parent, be a good role model and foster skin cancer prevention habits in your child.
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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Norman Levine, MD on June 26, 2012
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