Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Men Who Care About
Their Skin Protect It
More and more men are using sun protection while
they work and play outdoors. They know that skin cancer is a threat, but it's a
threat they can do something about. If you protect your skin from the sun, your
chance of getting skin cancer will be lower.
Why is the sun bad for my skin?
Sunburns and suntans are signs that your skin
has been damaged. This damage increases your risk of getting skin cancer. If you
protect your skin from the sun, you can lower this risk.
What should I do to protect my skin
from the sun?
Follow these "safe-sun" guidelines whenever you
are in the sun:
- Stay out of the sun, if you can, from 10 a.m. to
4 p.m., when the sun is strongest.
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants to
protect the skin on your body. Wear shirts made from tightly woven cloth, like
long-sleeved cotton t-shirts. If the clothing fits loosely, it will be cooler.
Special sun-protective clothes are available from several companies, like
Solumbra Sun Precautions (telephone: 800-882-7860). Wear sunglasses to protect
your eyes from the sun. Sun exposure increases your risk of getting cataracts.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat. Wide-brimmed hats help
protect your face, neck and ears from the sun. The best hat to wear in the sun
has a brim that's at least 6 inches all around. Baseball caps and similar hats
don't protect your ears and neck.
- Use sunscreen. Every day, put on a sunscreen with
a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, even on cloudy days. Clouds don't
protect you from sun damage. Only sunscreen can do that. Use lots of sunscreen
and rub it in well. Put the sunscreen on 30 minutes before you go outside. Put
the sunscreen everywhere the sun's rays might touch you, including your forehead
and face, your ears, the back of your neck and any bald parts on the top of your
head. Some sunscreen products say they won't drip into your eyes. You can try
those products on your face if that's a problem for you.
What else can I do
to protect my skin?
Some doctors think it's a good idea to do a
monthly skin check. Ask your doctor about this. If your doctor thinks it's a
good idea for you, pick a certain day each month, like the date of your birthday
or the day you pay bills, to check your skin. A monthly skin check can help you
find skin cancer early. The earlier skin cancer is found, the better the chance
for a cure.
The "ABCDE" rule can help you look for signs of
skin cancer. When looking at moles on your skin, look for the following:
Asymmetry: When both sides of a mole
don't look the same.
Border: The edges of a mole are blurry or
Color: The color of a mole changes--if
it's darker than before, the color spreads or goes away, or more than one color
appears (blue, red, white, pink, purple or gray).
Diameter: When a mole is larger than a
quarter of an inch in diameter (about the size of a pencil eraser).
Elevation: When a mole is raised above
the skin and has a rough surface.
You should also watch for these changes of your
- A mole that bleeds
- A mole that grows fast
- A scaly or crusted growth on the skin
- A sore that won't heal
- A mole that itches
- A place on your skin that feels rough like
Be sure to check your
whole body once each month, including your back, your scalp and the bottom of
your feet. Use a hand mirror to check the places that you can't see easily. Have
someone help you check the top of your head. You can use a blowdryer on low
speed to move your hair so you can see your scalp more easily.