Measures to prevent skin cancer and create barriers against the sun

Frequent and prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays has been the leading cause of skin cancer. Experts recommend not exposing yourself to the sun without protection, especially since in recent years solar radiation has increased due to the deterioration of the ozone layer, and there have also been more cases of skin cancer.Measures to prevent skin cancer and create barriers against the sun Measures to prevent skin cancer and create barriers against the sun

According to information from the US National Cancer Institute (NIH), exposure to UV radiation causes premature aging of the skin and damage that can lead to cancer.

“People of all ages and skin tones should limit the amount of time they spend in the sun. In particular, avoid exposure to UV rays between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 13 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year worldwide. This is the call for the use of sunscreen so that the sun's rays do not affect the skin as much in this dry season that begins in Panama -and in other Latin American and Caribbean countries-.

“Skin cancer is a condition in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the skin. Therefore, prevention and early detection play an important role. The use of sunscreens is essential for skin care, since it prevents damage to people," said Diana Luz Tejada, a dermatology specialist at the Omar Torrijos Herrera Pediatric Specialties Hospital, in a statement.

“Apart from serious diseases, there is the appearance of spots. In fact, sunscreen is an anti-aging product, because it protects the skin from free radicals in the environment”, explained beautician Carlos Valbuena.

The problem is not only the sun, but also pollution. Therefore, people should always use sun protection several times a day, Valbuena insisted.

Measures to prevent skin cancer and create barriers against the sun

Types of skin cancer

Tejada stated that there are three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanone.

Most of these can be prevented, as long as the person gives their skin a series of care, including protecting themselves from the sun and visiting the dermatologist from time to time.

He added that if the patient suspects a mole or spot on the skin, they should consult a dermatologist to carry out the proper evaluation and thus be able to rule out or apply the appropriate procedure if it is a cancerous condition.< blockquote class="twitter-tweet">

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The specialist also invited them to perform self-examinations with their arms raised above their heads. The elbows, forearms, and armpits should also be carefully examined.

According to Tejada, with a hand mirror you should check the neck, the skin of the scalp and the back. Also, if you notice a new mole or blemish, or any changes to a previous mole such as itching or bleeding, you should see a specialist to rule out any abnormalities.

“Prevention and early detection are key, and it is also important to have an exam at least once a year,” explained Tejada.

The NIH also advised people not to expose themselves to other sources of UV radiation, such as tanning beds. “Keep in mind that UV rays reflect (bounce) off sand, water, snow, and ice, and pass through car windshields and windows. Although skin cancer is more common in people with lighter skin, it occurs in people of any skin tone, even if they have dark skin. The damage that the sun produces on the skin can begin from childhood if the necessary protective measures are not taken at that age, ”the NIH pointed out on its official website.

Importance of sunscreen

But what happens to some skin types if sun protection is not used?

People with very oily skin prefer to avoid it. Regularly, most sunscreens claim to be oil free, but they are thick creams that give a greasy shine look and feel.

“People don't like it. That is why they prefer not to use them, due to the little information. In my experience with thousands of patients, I can assure you that 80% of the population does not use sunscreen as it should be: two to three times a day. You always have to touch up with the protector, because the skin absorbs it”, Valbuena stated.

The beautician added that the protector should have a protection factor (SPF) between 30% and 15%, but with several applications a day. “On the beach, the pool or other similar settings, it should be used at least every hour; My recommendation as a professional is to understand that even then, sun damage cannot be completely avoided, so you have to be cautious.”

“There are people who suffer from melasma (spots on the skin caused by the sun or in many women due to hormonal changes such as pregnancy) and thanks to the use of sunscreen these spots lighten up,” added the expert.

What are the best conditions for sunbathing and reducing risks?

It is best to take it between 8:00 and 10:00 in the morning.

In the afternoon it is best to wait until after 3:00. Between 12:00 noon and 3:00 in the afternoon the sun is too strong and there is no product that guarantees protection, especially for people who suffer from spots.

Some women, especially after applying makeup, don't put the protector back on because they think the products will run. “There are sunscreens that can be used on top of makeup. You have to look for all the possible options and get well informed, so that the skin suffers less in summer”, concluded Valbuena.

Tips to protect the skin from the sun

Care in summer

For this summer and when going to the beach, experts recommend wearing a wide-brimmed hat that provides shade around the face, neck, and ears. Baseball caps and visors only protect parts of the skin.

Also the use of glasses that filter UV rays to protect the eyes and the skin around them.

Recommend wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Dark, tightly woven fabrics are best. Some fabrics contain an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). The higher the number, the higher the sun protection factor.

As well as the use of products with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15. (Some doctors recommend using products with a minimum SPF of 30). Apply the indicated amount of sunscreen to exposed skin 30 minutes before going outdoors. Repeat this every two hours or after swimming or sweating.