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Preventative Care

The sun and the great outdoors can warm your spirit while providing fun and recreation. However, there are several skincare precautions we encourage you to follow to optimize your health and prevent a higher potential for skin cancer. Plan ahead to limit sun exposure, wear sunscreen, and dress appropriately year-round. We encourage everyone to schedule regular skin checks in an effort to detect skin conditions early and ensure your skin stays healthy.

Sunscreen

When choosing a sunscreen, it is important to look for ingredients that provide broad-spectrum coverage against both UVA and UVB radiation. The active ingredients micronized zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, Helioplex or Parsol 1789 (avobenzene) provide broad-spectrum ultraviolet coverage for both UVB and UVA rays.

For normal daily activities such as going to and from work or school, we recommend the use of a daily moisturizer with a sun block. This will provide protection against incidental ultraviolet radiation that one encounters to and from the car, as well as traveling in the car.

For outdoor activities such as swimming, running, or golfing, we advise using a waterproof sun block. For prolonged sun exposure, all sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours. Although no sunscreens are truly and completely waterproof, we do recommend sunscreens that have the word “waterproof” on the package label when undergoing swimming and other water sport activities.

Don’t forget to protect your eyes, ears and lips, which are also susceptible to skin cancer.

Simple preventative skin cancer recommendations:

After the skin cancer has been completely removed, the surgeon will determine the best method for treating the wound. These methods include letting the wound heal by itself, closing the wound in a side-to-side fashion with stitches, closing the wound with a skin graft or flap, or smoothing down the edges of the area without any stitches. In most cases, the best method is determined on an individual basis after the final defect is known. We will make every effort to obtain optimal cosmetic results when removing the skin cancer, but our primary goal is to remove the entire tumor. Mohs surgery will leave you with the smallest wound, thus creating the best opportunity for optimal cosmetic results.

Your surgical wound will require care during the weeks following surgery. Strenuous physical activity is not advised for at least 72 hours, and in some cases, for up to two weeks depending on the size and location of your skin cancer. You will receive postoperative instructions before you leave our office.

It is important to remember that sun damage is cumulative, so even short amounts of sun exposure will add up. Enjoy the sun and the outdoors, but use common sense, sunscreen, and protective clothing when appropriate.

Timing: Plan your outdoor activities in the early morning hours before 10:00 a.m. or in the late afternoon, beyond 4:00 p.m. This will help avoid the sun’s most intense radiation, which occurs between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Seek shade and avoid tanning.

Protective clothing: Wear a hat and remember that a hat with a 6-inch brim only provides equivalent sun protection to an SPF #8 sunscreen. There are new fabrics for protective clothing that provide complete sun block. They are designed to be loose fitting, cool, and comfortable.

Early detection: Skin cancer prevention starts with you. In addition to an annual exam by a dermatologist, you should check your entire body for irregular spots and moles at least once a month.