Healthy Living: Protecting your skin and spotting signs of trouble

We love to see the sun, especially during the summer months...

But we also know the more time we spend in the sun, the more at risk we are for damaging our skin.

Dr. Drew Oliveira with Regence BlueShield stopped by the Q13 studio to talk to Marni Hughes about the risk of skin cancer and the best ways to protect yourself.

Dr. Oliveira says everyone is at risk for skin cancer, but people with lighter skin, people with freckles, red hair tend to be at higher risk.   People with a family history or personal history also have a heightened risk for developing skin cancer.    For those groups, Dr. Oliveira says it's important you pay extra attention and take precautions to prevent sun damage.

Everyday, Dr. Oliveira says cover up before going outside, especially if you burn easily.  In addition, he recommends an ounce of sunscreen and make to to re-apply if you're going to be swimming or out in the sun for extended periods of time.  Anything with an SPF of 30 or more will protect you against 97% of the suns damaging rays... and experts say choose anytime that you will use.

So what signs should you be looking for when it comes to sun damage or potential cancerous spots?

Dr. Oliveira says remember the ABCDE's.  Dr. Oliveira says if you notice any of the following it should prompt you to visit your doctor to get it further checked out.

A- Asymmetry is number one.  Is one side different than the other?

B- Whats the border look like?  An irregular border is worth a look from a doctor.

C- And C stands for color.  Ask yourself if it's the same color all the way through or mixed colors.  A mix could be a sign of something more.

D- Look at the dimensions.  If a spot or mole is bigger than the head of a pencil and growing in dimension, you should get it checked out.

E- Finally, is the spot evolving.  If you're noticing it changing over time, it may be something the doctor will want to evaluate.