The most efficient skin cancer prevention method is the protection of the skin against the harmful effects of the sunrays. Approximately 9 out 10 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma and squamous carcinoma) and almost 6 out of 10 cases of melanoma (the most serious type of skin cancer) are triggered by an excessive exposure to solar radiations. More exactly, the repeated episodes of sunburns increase the risk of developing skin cancer.

It’s not the external temperature that affects the skin but the UV radiations, which are in fact of two types: UVA and UVB. The former type of radiations is responsible for the skin ageing effect and the latter, for the sunburns that destroy the skin, alter the melanocytes’ composition and trigger melanoma.

The first method of protection and skin cancer prevention is to avoid sun exposure between 11am and 4pm (From May to September) when the radiations are the strongest and not to abuse of sunbed sessions. Dermatologists recommend the use of a high protection sunscreen during the entire year, as these UV radiations persist due to the massive destruction of the ozone layer. Thus, during the hot seasons, you should apply sunscreens of at least SPF 15 or more, as those under this index do not offer any kind of efficient protection. These creams are to be applied 20-30 minutes before going out, to ensure a better absorption within the skin. A single application is not enough to ensure protection for the entire day, that’s why it’s recommended to apply it once every 2-3 hours, even more often for children.

Also, artificial tanning can represent a risk factor for the health of your skin, that’s why sunbed sessions should me moderate or even better, avoided. Skin cancer doesn’t usually appear in children, however, their exposure and repeated sunburns along the years will increase the risk of developing skin cancer at adulthood.

Direct sunrays are not the only cause of sunburns, as reflected light from sand, water, concrete and snow can also be a harmful factor. Clouds also allow the passage of UV radiations, so sunscreen creams should be used on a cloudy day. The most sensitive and prone to sunburn are the people with a fair skin, red hair, blue eyes and freckles because the concentration of melanin within the skin is rather low unlike those with darker skin with whom the melanin plays an important role in skin protection, rarely developing skin cancer.

Skin protection is also ensured by wearing appropriate clothing, for example larger t-shirts, long-sleeved blouses, large pants and wide-brimmed hats. Also, there are certain clothes made of a special fabric that blocks or reflects sunrays, these being the most indicated to wear. There is also a misconception according to which UV radiation expose in sunbeds is not harmful: entirely false! The light inside the sunbeds has exactly the same repercussions on the skin as the sun exposure during peak hours, so these places should also be avoided to prevent cancer.

Skin cancer is the most easily detectable type of cancer and still makes the most victims. The reason is that most people ignore or are simply unaware of these aspects regarding the harmful effects of excessive UV exposure. If however such protection measures are taken, the chances of developing any type of skin cancer decrease considerably.