Preventing skin cancer isn't just something you should be thinking about in the summer - it should be a year-long battle. Spectrum News' Kristen Shaughnessy tells you what to look for in this Healthy Living Report.
Any dermatologist will tell you that it doesn't matter that it's winter - sunscreen needs to be a year-round habit.
"Even on a cloudy day, 40 percent of the UV rays are still coming through," says Dr. Arash Akhavan of Dermatology & Laser Group.
"I don't worry about it enough during the year, aside from the summer, which I know I should be," says Lauren Johnson, a patient.
Dr. Akhavan says skin cancer remains the number one cancer in the United States, with more than five million cases diagnosed a year. He urges his patients to be diligent.
"We could laser those away, they're really just a cosmetic issue. Luckily they're not any sort of cancer risk," he says. "One person unfortunately dies of melanoma every 50 minutes in the U.S., so it's a serious problem. We are seeing it more and more in younger patients."
Dr. Akhavan has a checklist he refers to as A-B-C-D-E. He wants everyone to use it .
"The A stands for asymmetry; you want them all to be nice and symmetric. The B is for borders; we like moles that have nice, smooth borders, not irregular or jagged borders. C is for color; we want a mole typically to be uniform color throughout, not multiple colors in the same region. D is for diameter; we like a mole in general to be less than six millimeters. Six millimeters is the size of a No. 2 pencil eraser. And then the last is E for evolving; so typically we like a mole to be stable in their appearance, not changing over time. Any of those things you should alert your dermatologist," he says.
Dr. Akhavan says you should apply an ounce of sunscreen about 15 minutes before you go out, and remember to reapply every two hours. How much is an ounce? He says it's about a shot-glass worth of sunscreen.