St. Mark's Hospital - April 26, 2019

You may enjoy catching some rays when mowing the lawn, playing golf or fishing, but you’d be wise to protect your skin from the sun while you develop melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, says the Skin Cancer Foundation. And twice as many men die from melanoma as women.

This may be due in part to skin differences between the sexes. Men have thicker skin with less fat underneath and more collagen and elastin—fibers that keep skin firm and tight. This makes skin more vulnerable to damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays, researchers say. Men also tend to know less about sun damage and protection, reports the American Academy of Dermatology.

Your risk for melanoma and other skin cancers is higher if you have light skin or hair, more than 50 moles, a history of sunburns or a family history of skin cancer. To safeguard your skin, use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher before going outdoors, and reapply every two hours and after swimming.

The ABCs of Melanoma

A B C D E rule for the early detection of melanoma. A: Asymmetry. B: Borders (the outer edges are uneven). C: Color (dark black or have multiple colors). D: Diameter (greater than 6 milimeters). E: Evolving (change in size, shape, or color).