Simple Habits to Drastically Reduce Skin Cancer Risk

Love Your Skin This Summer

Simple habits can drastically reduce your skin cancer risk.

Franz Smith, MD
Franz Smith, MD
How can you protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays? Franz Smith, MD, a surgical oncologist with a clinical trial and research specialty in skin cancers at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center and a member of RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group, shares his best advice.

Dress for success.

That includes wearing a hat with a brim that shades your face, ears and the back of your neck; loose-fitting, long-sleeved, tightly woven shirts; and long pants. Wear a T-shirt on the beach whenever you aren’t in the water. Look for fabrics that have an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) to guard against UV rays.

Keep an eye on your eyes.

Wraparound sunglasses are a great choice to protect eyes and skin around the eyes from UV rays.

Shun the brightest sun.

When you’re outside between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., reduce your risk of skin damage by seeking shade under an umbrella, a tree or other shelter.

Check it out.

Regularly examine your skin for changes in moles during showers and in the mirror. Ask someone to check your back and neck, and if your hair is thinning, be sure to check your scalp as well.

Slather on sunscreen.

Use it even on slightly cloudy or cool days. It contains chemicals that scatter sunlight’s UV rays. Apply 30 minutes before you go outside. A Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 is sufficient as long as the sunscreen is reapplied every two hours.

Watch the kids.

The vast majority of sun exposure occurs before age 18, so help your children take the necessary sun protection steps and let them see you doing the same.

RWJBarnabas Health and the Cancer Center at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, together with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey—the state’s only NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center—provide close-to-home access to the latest treatment options.

Learn more about The Melanoma Center at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center.