This Is What Dermatologists Who've Had Skin Cancer Want You to Know

Kelsey Clark

Unlike adopting a gut-healthy diet, drinking collagen for glowy skin, or going vegan, protecting your skin from the sun shouldn't be considered optional. In fact, it's one of the only facets of the health and wellness world that all doctors can agree on. Case in point: the opinions of dermatologists who've actually had a close encounter with skin cancer. The survivors recently spoke with Prevention regarding the one piece of skincare advice they’d like to share with the masses, in both their personal and professional opinion. Read their enlightening responses below.

Wear Sunscreen Every Single Day

“It’s not enough to only wear sunscreen when you’re going to be outdoors for extended periods," said Andrew Miner, MD, a dermatologist who had a basal cell carcinoma in college. "We get so much daily UV radiation that we don’t even think about. The research clearly shows the benefit to applying sunscreen every day—rain or shine—to every body part that’s exposed.”

Protect From the Inside Out

“There’s plenty of published medical literature supporting the efficacy of an oral antioxidant derived from a fern leaf extract known as polypodium leucotomos in decreasing skin damage,” said Vivian Bucay, MD, a dermatologist who survived metastatic melanoma. She recommends taking Heliocare’s version of the antioxidant every day. “It’s not a substitute for sunscreen, but it does offer additional protection.”

See Something, Say Something

“If a growth or mole is changing in any way, have it checked out,” said Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center and a melanoma survivor. “My two melanomas were very small and looked like almost nothing, but I’m so glad I listened to my own advice and had them removed.” Be sure to pay attention to changes in size, shape, and color, and look out for spots that become itchy or sore.

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