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Actinic keratosis, or AK, is a precursor to skin cancer. Although most AKs can be effectively treated by your dermatologist through laser treatment, cryosurgery, or removal of the lesion, preventing them from occurring gives you the best chance of avoiding skin cancer. Fortunately, there are many easy steps you can take to prevent AKs. Use this advice to create your action plan.

Use Sunscreen

Sunscreen can dramatically reduce your risk of developing AK lesions. Use an SPF 15 sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection every day. If you plan to be outside for an extended period of time, use an SPF of 30 or greater for additional protection. It takes about two tablespoons of sunscreen to effectively protect your body. Apply your sunscreen about 30 minutes before going out, and reapply it every two hours or right after swimming. Don’t forget to put sunscreen on babies older than six months old. Younger children should be kept out of the sun.

Stay Away from Tanning Bed

Tanning beds are associated not just with a higher risk of AKs but of skin cancer as well. The rays in tanning beds are more concentrated than those you are exposed to outside, which means that they can cause problems with your skin quickly. There is no safe amount of time to be in a tanning bed, so skip them entirely to protect your skin.

Avoid Peak Periods of Sun

The sun is at its most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Avoid being out in the sun during these hours, and seek shade as much as possible when your outside, no matter what the hour. Don’t tan at any time of day. Tanned skin is actually skin that has sun damage.

Visit your dermatologist at Arlington Dermatology each year for a skin exam. The early your dermatologist identifies AKs, melanomas, and other carcinomas, the sooner your skin cancer treatment in Arlington Heights can begin. Schedule an appointment by calling 847-392-5440.

woman with sunscreen on leg in the shape of a sun