If you visited our practice last month, then you probably know that May is national Skin Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a great time to remind oneself of the most effective methods for protecting the skin and to learn from our dermatology specialists how our Naperville-area patients can maintain skin cancer awareness year-round.

One of the easiest ways to prevent skin cancer is to protect skin. When spending time outdoors, wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats to avoid direct sun exposure. Also, wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher daily. Apply sunscreen evenly and often, and cover all areas of exposed skin. Remember sunscreen and protective clothing are just as important in the cold months as the warm ones. In fact, if there’s snow on the ground, you’re actually getting more sun exposure thanks to reflective light.

Even if you consistently protect yourself from UV rays, we recommend screening your own skin once a month. This infographic from the American Academy of Dermatology does a great job of explaining how to conduct a simple self-examination and the ABDCEs of melanoma (asymmetry, border, color, diameter, evolving).

It’s important to undergo an evaluation by a dermatology provider at least once a year. Not only will he or she be able to diagnose skin conditions, but you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing you have access to up-to-date information on treatment options such as Mohs surgery. If you have any questions regarding your skin, contact a board-certified dermatologist to ensure you receive the highest level of patient care.