3 Unhealthy Habits That May Cause Skin Cancer

Your daily habits may be preventing you from achieving the natural, glowing skin you desire. Anything from smoking to forgetting to apply your daily SPF can all wreak havoc on your skin. The consequences of unhealthy skin habits can result in irritation, breakouts, and worst of all, skin cancer. Unfortunately, some of your daily routines may be causing more damage to your skin than you realize. 

Here are three unhealthy skin habits you need to eliminate from your life:


Not only is cigarette smoking one of the most dangerous activities for your overall health and wellness, but it can also cause unfavorable skin changes and can intensify the course of many skin diseases, including cancer. In fact, one study found that tobacco smoking is an independent risk factor for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Researchers theorize that smoking damages DNA in the skin tissues, which leads to errant cell growth. 

Skipping on sunscreen

The sun produces UV rays that penetrate the skin. UV rays are both good and bad for us, depending on the exposure. A small amount of UV rays is good for us as it helps us produce vitamin D, which absorbs calcium. However, too much sun exposure allows UV rays to reach the inner skin layers, which can cause skin cell damage, causing them to die or aid in the development of cancer. 

Being exposed to too much UV radiation from the sun can damage the DNA in your skin cells. If enough DNA damage builds up over time, it can cause cells to start growing out of control, leading to skin cancer. 

There are several ways you can prevent the harmful effects of sun exposure, including:

  • Limit time in the sun and seek shade when appropriate, especially between the hours of 10 a.m and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are most intense.
  • Use sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 daily all year round (SPF 30 during summer months or greater sun exposure) to all exposed skin 30 minutes before sun exposure. 
  • Cover up by wearing clothing and hats that protect your skin from UV rays.
  • Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet and vitamin supplements. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends 1000 IU of supplemental Vitamin D daily for adults who practice daily sun protection. Foods rich in vitamin D include salmon, tuna, vitamin D fortified milk, cod liver oil and mackerel. 

Going to the tanning salon

Whether you get your tan from the sun or from artificial sources, such as tanning beds, ultraviolet radiation is still damaging your skin and may lead to skin aging and potentially deadly skin cancer. Multiple studies have found a direct relationship between tanning bed use and the risk of skin cancers, especially basal cell carcinoma (BCC). 

One particular study observed 73,494 females for 20 years and investigated whether the frequency of tanning bed use during high school/college and at ages 25 to 35 years was associated with a risk of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma. Results showed that 5,506 women were diagnosed with BCC, 403 with SCC, and 349 with melanoma.

At ForCare, we can help you take great care of your skin through education, prevention, and treatments for all types of skin conditions, including all forms of skin cancer. It is important to receive regular skin cancer screenings for early detection and to ensure the best possible treatment if ever needed. 
To request a dermatology appointment with us at ForCare, click here or call (813) 773-2456.

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