Moles, Sun and Melanoma Skin Cancer – Not a Good Combination!

Did you know that the more sun you get, the more moles you have?
Did you know that the more moles you have, the higher your chance of developing a melanoma skin cancer?
Did you know that if you have a lot of moles, the chance of one turning into a melanoma increases with increased sun exposure?
Did you know that every hour an American dies from melanoma skin cancer?

All this information is available and has been proven over and over. So why am I still seeing people laying out tanning? Why is the tanning salon industry a multi-billion dollar industry? Why are people still refusing to use sunscreen, sun protective clothing, sit in the shade and stay indoors during the mid-day hours?

Well, some of it is simply stupidity. Yes, I said it, stupidity. But there is more to the story. Some researchers have actually figured out that tanning is addictive. Tanning releases endorphins which make us feel good. People can actually go through a withdraw of sorts when they stop using tanning beds. Just yesterday a patient told me that after all he loves has been taken away from him, tanning is the only thing he really enjoys. But that’s no excuse! We don’t make excuses for those that are addicted to smoking, alcohol or drugs. We try to help them. So in the same way I tell every patient to stop smoking, I tell patient to be smart about sun exposure. Even is they are addicted to tanning, we need to help them creak the cycle.

There are some simple steps you can follow:

1. Stay in the shade between 11am-3pm.
2. Use SPF 50 sunscreen and re-apply often (see my prior post of how to choose a sunscreen).
3. Wear a hat, sun-protective clothing, and sunglasses (see my prior post of looking your best this summer).

This way you can enjoy all summer has to offer and not increase your chance of skin cancer.

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