Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is abnormal growths or lesions that develop on the outermost layer of the skin. BCCs often look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, or scars.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the upper layers of the skin and look like scaly red patches, open sores, elevated growths, or warts; they may crust or bleed. SCC is mainly caused by UV exposure over the course of one’s lifetime.
Melanoma, the most dangerous form, develops from UV radiation damage to skin cells which cause cell mutation and malignant tumor growth. Melanomas are usually black or brown, skin-colored, pink, red, or purple, often resembling moles – and some develop from moles. The condition is caused by intense, occasional UV exposure and repeat sunburns, especially in those who are genetically predisposed to the disease. If melanoma is recognized and treated early, it’s usually curable, but if it isn’t, the cancer can advance and spread to other parts of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal.
Certain people are at greater risk for sunburns and for skin cancer. People with a fair complexion, blond or red hair, and blue, green or grey eyes– as well as people who live in hotter and sunnier climates, close to the equator – are more likely to develop precancerous skin conditions.
Protect your skin
Everyone loves the healthy look of a bit of sun, but it’s important to exercise caution when spending time outdoors.
• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends using a broad-spectrum (protects from both UVA and UVB) sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater to protect uncovered skin.
•Limit time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
•Protect your skin with clothing or sunscreen. Apply one ounce of sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the ingredients to bind to the skin.