Why is the sun so bad for my skin?

The sun's rays, which are called ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays (UVA and UVB rays) damage your skin. This leads to early wrinkles, skin cancer and other skin problems.

Being in the sun often over time, even if you don't burn, can lead to skin cancer. A tan is the body's desperate attempt to protect itself from the sun's harmful rays.

Are tanning booths safer?

No. Tanning booths use ultraviolet rays. Makers of the booths may claim that they use "harmless" UVA rays. But both UVA and UVB rays cause skin damage. While UVA rays take longer than UVB rays to damage the skin, they go deeper into the skin than UVB rays.

Where is skin cancer most likely to occur?

Most skin cancers occur on parts of the body that are repeatedly exposed to the sun. These areas include the head, neck, face, tips of the ears, hands, forearms, shoulders, back, chests of men, and the back and lower legs of women.

What are the risk factors for skin cancer?

A number of things may put you at higher risk of having skin cancer some day:

  • Having fair skin, red or blond hair
  • Having light-colored eyes
  • Sunburning easily
  • Having many moles, freckles or birthmarks
  • Working or playing outside
  • Being in the sun a lot as a child
  • Having had a serious sunburn
  • Having family members with skin cancer
  • Tanning in the sun or with a sunlamp

What does a normal mole look like?

A normal mole is solid tan, brown, dark brown or flesh colored. Its edges are well-defined. It's usually smaller than 1/4 inch in diameter and has a round or oval shape. It should be flat or dome-like.

How can I tell if my mole isn't normal?

  • The main thing to look for is any change in a mole that you have or the appearance of a new mole. Most normal moles appear by age 30. Any moles that appear after age 30 should be watched carefully and brought to the attention of your family doctor

Signs of Skin Cancer ABCDE rule

A - asymmetry:  A mole that, when divided in half, doesn't look the same on both sides
B - border: A mole with edges that are blurry or jagged
C - color: Changes in the colof or a mole, including darkening, spread of color, loss of color, or the appearance of multiple colors.
D - diameter: A mole larger that 1/4 inch in diameter
E - elevation: A mole that is raised above the skin and has an uneven surface

Other signs include:

  • A mole that bleeds
  • A fast-growing mole
  • A scaly or crusted growth on the skin
  • A sore that won't heal
  • A mole that itches