While researchers don’t know exactly why melanoma rates have been rising in the last couple of decades, we do know that the sun plays a major role in developing this deadly form of skin cancer.
Here are a few critical steps men can take for melanoma prevention:
- Make sun protection a daily habit.
- Get regular skin checkups from your doctor.
- Avoid overexposure to sunlight (both natural and artificial).
Wear a Men’s Daily Moisturizer with SPF
Preventing melanoma starts with your morning routine. Before you head out the door, use a men’s moisturizer with SPF 20 on your face.
Whether it’s sunny, cloudy or in the dead of winter, using a men’s moisturizer with SPF is critical for protecting your face. It’s simple to work into your morning routine and will prevent harmful UV rays from penetrating your skin.
In men, melanoma often appears on the face, neck or back. A moisturizer with SPF guarantees that your face will always be protected every single day.
Be sure to grab a moisturizer that is made specifically for a man’s skin. Skin care products made for men are designed to penetrate the tough outer layer of a man’s skin, allowing the ingredients to work as they were intended.
Get Regular Skin Screenings
All men should have a doctor or dermatologist perform a full-body check for suspicious-looking moles. About once a year is the recommended minimum for everyone; however, this will depend on your skin color and location.
Generally, non-Hispanic white males need to get more frequent checkups compared to men of color. If you have pale skin, light hair and blue/green eyes, you’re at a much higher risk of developing skin cancer (see claim: “…in particular, correlate with fairness of skin, UV sensitivity, and enhanced cancer risk”).
Your location can also increase your likelihood of getting melanoma. Researchers have discovered increased melanoma incidences in those who live in high altitudes (see claim: “…living at higher altitudes were found to increase by as much as 30% per 100 m altitude”). If you live in a place with high altitude or an area that gets a lot of snow, consider seeing your dermatologist more often.
Reduce Your Exposure to UV Rays
Unlike other forms of cancer, we do know one of the primary causes of melanoma: overexposure to ultraviolet rays. While it might seem obvious, limiting your time in the sun can significantly reduce your risk of melanoma.
This goes for tanning beds, too. As much as we’d all like a bronzed body year-round, it’s not worth the risk of skin cancer (or premature aging, for that matter).
If you work outdoors for a living, seek shade during the hottest time of the day (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.). Exposing yourself to UV rays sparingly will reduce your risk of melanoma.
Wear UV-Protective Sunglasses
As cool as your sunglasses might look, they may be doing nothing to block UV rays. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to get melanoma of the eye.
Your eyes can become sunburned and develop what is called intraocular melanoma, or melanoma of the eye. If you have light-colored eyes, you are at a greater risk of developing this form of cancer and should invest in a pair of sunglasses with UV protection.
Wear a Wide-Brimmed Hat
While you’re out shopping for UV-protective sunglasses, pick up a wide-brimmed hat while you’re at it. Although you might think this is overkill, the scalp is also susceptible to sunburn and melanoma.
In fact, it’s not unheard of for men to develop melanomas on their face and scalp. Melanomas on the scalp are especially difficult to spot because they can be hidden by your hairline.
This is yet another good reason to get regular checkups so that your doctor can locate suspicious moles that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Reduce Your Risk
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 55,000 men will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and nearly 6,000 men will die from it. With melanoma rates on the rise, it’s more important than ever for men to start taking better care of their skin.
Incorporating a men’s daily moisturizer with SPF into your morning skin care routine is just one melanoma prevention method. By following the tips above, you can significantly reduce your risk of being diagnosed with melanoma or at least improve your chances of detecting it early.