But early aging isn’t the only thing to worry about. “The most predominant risk factor for skin cancer is sun exposure,” says Dr. Buño. Approximately 2 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, a number that is steadily increasing. The most common form of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, but the most serious form, melanoma, is also on the rise. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, by 2015, 1 in 50 Americans will develop melanoma in their lifetime.
You can still enjoy your favorite outdoor activities. “Sun protection remains the best defense for all sorts of skin cancer,” says Dr. Buño. “And not just when the sun is out. The UV rays from the sun still shine through the clouds—spring, summer, winter, and fall.”
Consider these ways to protect yourself:
When applying sunblock and sunscreen, use water-resistant when possible, make sure to apply enough, and reapply it throughout the day. SPF 30 is recommended, and look for broad-spectrum protection, as it protects against both UVA and UVB damage.