How to Prevent Moles: An Easy-to-Follow Guide
Can you prevent moles? According to science, the answer is yes. Read this easy-to-follow guide from Tiege Hanley to prevent new moles from occurring.
While these moles may not be the most pleasing thing to look at, they are usually harmless. However, the same can’t always be said about moles that appear later in life.
Some moles which randomly appear in your 20s, 30s, 40s and above can turn into deadly melanomas. Can you prevent moles from developing later in life?
Here are several things you need to know:
- Moles form when skin cells grow in a cluster instead of uniformly.
- New moles may form after excessive sun exposure, while existing moles can darken.
- You can take steps to prevent new moles by practicing sun safety.
Step #1: Use Sunscreen Every Day
Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can damage the DNA of skin cells, causing moles to mutate and grow. Thus, wearing sunscreen every day is vital to protecting your skin from sun damage and reducing the likelihood of new moles forming.
For complete sun protection, wear a daily moisturizer with SPF on your face and apply regular sunscreen on other body parts exposed to the sun. Remember to wear your SPF moisturizer every day, rain or shine!
According to a 2010 study published in the Archives of Dermatology, researchers noted that the risk of sun damage increased with altitude, clear air and UV reflection from the snow (see claim: “…altitude, clear air, and reflected UV from snow make the alpine environment dangerous.”) While you might be bundled up during the winter, it’s important that you still apply sunscreen to any exposed areas such as your face.
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Step #2: Protect Your Head from the Sun
Moles on the scalp aren’t as common, but they can occur. Not only that, but moles on the scalp can be deadly when they turn into melanomas.
According to a 2014 study published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology, patients with scalp melanomas had a much higher incidence of their skin cancer spreading to the brain (see claim: “Patients with scalp melanomas were most likely to develop brain metastases…”) Other skin cancers (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma) can also form on the scalp.
Of course, applying sunscreen on the hairline can be messy. To avoid this problem, wearing a wide-brimmed hat will help protect your scalp from the sun while providing added protection to your face.
Step #3: Buy Sun-Protective Clothing
If you work outside, spend a lot of time outdoors or have fair skin, it isn’t overkill to buy sun-protective clothing. In fact, it’s a smart move on your part.
Even when you apply sunscreen to your exposed body parts, the sun’s rays can filter through some clothes and cause sun damage. Sun-protective clothing is specifically designed to block UV rays and enhance your protection.
Those with lighter complexions are most at risk of sunburn and are primary candidates for sun-protective clothing. Men also have a higher risk of developing skin cancer and should consider taking additional measures to protect themselves from the sun.
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Step #4: Avoid the Sun During Peak Hours
The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Although it may not always be feasible, it’s important that you try to seek shade or stay indoors during these hours.
If you must be outside during these hours, remember to wear your wide-brimmed hat, sun-protective clothing and apply sunscreen liberally. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that you apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside for maximum protection.
Additionally, don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every two hours or sooner if you’re working up a sweat. Your sweat can wash off sunscreen and reduce your sun protection, which can increase your chances of developing moles.
Remember to Get Regular Skin Exams!
Whether it’s for cosmetic reasons or you want to reduce your chances of skin cancer, both are valid reasons for wanting to prevent moles. However, the risk of developing skin cancer such as melanoma is far more serious.
While these steps are a good start to preventing new moles, regular skin examinations are critical to decreasing your risk of skin cancer. Most skin cancer organizations recommend that you have a doctor check your skin yearly.
However, those at a higher risk of skin cancer (i.e., lighter skin, family history, male, etc.) should get skin exams more often. Check with your doctor to see how often you should get a skin screening.