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Are You at Risk for Skin Cancer?

One in five Americans develops skin cancer at some point during their life. Many of these cases could be prevented by protecting your skin from exposure to ultraviolet light.

Our expert team at Lux Dermatology want to ensure your skin is as healthy as possible. We treat skin cancer cases of all types with great success. We also believe it’s important to educate our patients about their risk of developing skin cancer.

Here, we discuss the major risk factors for skin cancer. Some are genetic, which means you need to be especially careful. Other risk factors are environmental, and you can control your risk with proactive steps to avoid the skin damage that can lead to cancer.

Genetic reasons for higher skin cancer risk

Some things about you come from your family line, which means you can’t control them. The following genetic traits make you more susceptible to skin cancer. 

Light skin color

Is your skin pale or fair? Do you have freckles covering your arms where they’re exposed to the sun? Having fair skin increases your risk for skin cancer. Darker skin has more pigment, which helps provide some protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays. If your skin doesn’t have as much pigment, it can burn easily.

Blond or red hair; light eye color 

Blond or red hair and blue or green eyes often accompany lighter skin, and they are additional risk factors for skin cancer. 

Atypical moles

An atypical mole has irregular borders and/or an uneven texture and color. These moles are typically benign but can become cancerous. If you have atypical moles, you have a greater risk of developing melanoma than people without them.

Regardless of these genetic factors, using sunscreen, staying out of the sun during the middle of the day, and wearing protective clothing all help to protect your skin from UV damage that compounds your risk.

Environmental reasons for higher skin cancer risk

These factors increase your chance of developing skin cancer, but they’re things that you can do something about.

Sunburn 

Getting a bad sunburn —  in which blisters form — increases your risk of skin cancer. Sunburn is skin damage that is the culprit in the development of the three forms of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. In addition, getting sunburned leads to premature signs of aging. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of protecting your skin from the sun.

Tanning

Years of tanning, outdoors or indoors, can lead to skin cancer. Tanned skin looks healthy, but it’s actually proof of skin injury. Long term exposure to UV light leads to wrinkles and tough skin. Stay away from tanning beds: Just one visit can increase your risk of melanoma. 

Effective treatments for skin cancer 

It’s important to have your skin checked with an annual skin cancer screening. Our dermatologists offer several treatments if you do develop skin cancer. Whether it’s surgical excision, Mohs surgery, radiofrequency ablation, or low energy X-ray treatments, we have a solution that works for you.

Lux Dermatology is your partner in your skin health. Call or request an appointment online at the office closest to you today to have your skin checked for signs of skin cancer.

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