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Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC Blog

Can I Prevent Skin Cancer in Addition to Sunscreen?

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 21, 2021 10:36:04 AM / by Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

As summer approaches, it’s important to remember to take proper precautions before going outside. Simple things like sunscreen and protective clothing can protect your skin from sun damage like skin cancer. Even though skin cancer is avoidable, it is the most common type of cancer, affecting more than a million Americans each year. Keep reading to see what you can do to build a proper defense against harmful sun damage and lower your chances of developing skin cancer. 

HOW EFFECTIVE IS SUNSCREEN?

Sunscreen can be either chemical like sunblock lotions or physical like long-sleeved shirts or large brimmed hats. Wearing any type of sun protection is always a good idea, but some are more effective than others. While choosing the right kind of sunscreen can be overwhelming, some guidelines help you narrow the choices down like SPF rating, UV spectrum and application style. Applying sunscreen daily, staying away from tanning beds and reduced sun exposure are the most efficient ways to minimize skin cancer risk.

Efficient sunscreen qualities to look for:

  • Sunscreen should be at least 30 SPF for proper protection
  • Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays 
  • Adults should use roughly one ounce of sunscreen lotion or gel per application to cover exposed skin adequately and should be cautious when using spray sunscreen to ensure that skin isn’t left exposed 

At the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC, we offer various types of medical-grade sunscreen. You can view and purchase them here.

WHAT CAN I DO BESIDES USING SUNSCREEN?

Here is a list of options to help prevent skin cancer.

NSAIDs 

Some studies suggest that common NSAIDs like aspirin or ibuprofen can reduce the risk of skin cancers. One study in Denmark showed a 13-15 percent reduction in skin cancer risks in people who had filled more than two NSAID prescriptions between 1991 and 2009. While the findings are unclear, Joshua Zeichner, MD., a dermatologist in New York City, said, "NSAIDs help lower inflammation in the body and reduce expression of COX-2, an enzyme involved in the growth of cancers.” 

Nicotinamide 

The Vitamin B3 supplement, Nicotinamide, has shown a significant ability to reduce skin cancer risk by taking an oral supplement twice daily. A study found that people with a high risk of developing skin cancer showed a 23 percent reduction of new cancerous cell growth after taking the supplement for a year. The supplement does not have any side effects and is an inexpensive solution to skin cancer prevention. It is important to remember that nicotinamide does not take the place of sunscreen use and regular skin check-ups by dermatologists are still recommended.

Polypodium Leucotomos

The South American fern species Polypodium Leucotomos has been studied for its ability to treat a variety of skin cancers. The plant extract is used to treat conditions like psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, vitiligo, polymorphic light eruption and melasma. A recent study indicated that P. leucotomos extract taken twice daily for 60 days can be a safe and effective means for reducing UV radiation’s damaging effects. 

Diet

New evidence continues to show a connection between a healthy diet and skin cancer prevention. An early 2000’s study suggests that antioxidants help reduce skin cancer risk because UV exposure can deplete that substance in our body. Some dermatologists also recommend having a diet that provides adequate amounts of Beta Carotene, Omega 3 fatty acids, Polyphenols, Selenium and vitamins C, D, E and Zinc. Maintaining a healthy diet that is high in vitamins and antioxidants is also a great way to help prevent other diseases and certain types of cancer. 

According to Harvard Health Publishing, in a study, alcohol intake was associated with the development of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma (the two most common types of skin cancer) and melanoma. One of the studies found that the risk of basal cell carcinoma increased by 7 percent and squamous cell carcinoma increased by 11 percent for every 10-gram increase in intake of alcohol each day. Another study found a 20 percent increase in melanoma in drinkers (compared to those who don’t drink alcohol or only drink occasionally) and an increased risk based on the amount of alcohol intake, with a 55 percent increase in risk for those who drink five-plus beers per day. 

Protective Clothing and UV Rays

Wear protective clothing. Cover up your arms and legs with protective clothing along with wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. You should also avoid UV radiation. The sun's peak hours, where it is the strongest, occur from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is recommended to seek out shaded areas and avoid direct sunlight. These actions minimize your chances of accumulating immediate UV ray exposure. Additionally, do not utilize tanning beds. A tanning bed is a carcinogen, a substance that promotes cancer. Any form of UV light exposure can also cause melanoma to form. 

SEE YOUR DERMATOLOGIST | DERMATOLOGY CENTER FOR SKIN HEALTH, PLLC 

Skin cancer is serious, and it can be life-threatening if it is not discovered in its early stages. Even if you do not have any skin concerns, you should see a dermatologist for yearly skin cancer screenings. Your dermatologist can examine and evaluate any areas of your skin you may have missed during self-exams. Based on their assessment, you will be provided with the appropriate treatment plan, if needed.  

At the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC, we provide full body skin evaluations. If you are concerned with an area of skin or would like to be scheduled for an annual skin cancer screening, please call us at 304-598-3888 or contact us online to make an appointment. We are currently accepting new patients and encourage you to make your appointment soon. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

References:

Can Aspirin, Other NSAIDs Lower Skin Cancer Risk? - WebMD

Oral Nicotinamide Prevents Common Skin Cancers in High-Risk …

Safety and Efficacy of Oral Polypodium leucotomos ... - NCBI - NIH

Can Your Diet Help Prevent Skin Cancer?

Is there a link between alcohol and skin cancer?



Topics: Skin Cancer, skin cancer prevention

Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

Written by Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

Our priority is to deliver complete, compassionate care to our patients while educating and assisting them as they make care decisions regarding the health and beauty of their skin.