Most people are on high alert for skin cancer risks during the summer because so much time is spent outdoors, but warm weather isn't the only time when your skin could be in danger. Studies have shown that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime, mostly due to a lack of protection from long term exposure to the sun's UVA and UVB rays. In the past, self-exams and regular visits to the dermatologist were the only ways to monitor your skin cancer risk, but now there are a bevy of affordable mobile apps that can help you prevent this common disease. Read on for six of the best skin cancer detection and prevention apps we could find.
Coppertone My UV Alert
Not sure whether sunscreen’s enough or whether you should go for full coverage–hat, long sleeves, and sunglasses? Just plug in your zip code, and this free app from Coppertone serves up local UV index forecasts, recommended protection levels, custom sunscreen reapplication reminders, sun protection tips and more.
Have You Checked Your Skin Lately?
Melanoma, a very common form of skin cancer, kills thousands of men and women every year. This app was created by Mollie’s Fund, an organization set up in memory of Mollie Biggane, a young woman who died of melanoma. Featuring a very simple layout, this app allows you to log your self-exams, and walks you through the five steps for checking your skin for any sign of skin cancer. There’s also wealth of information for staying sun-safe and knowing the signs of a potentially dangerous mark or mole.
Everyone’s skin is different, and that means we each need to take slightly different precautions when working or playing out in the sun. The Sun Shield app is packed with important sun exposure and UV Index information, like real-time daily and hourly UV Index measurements for anywhere around the globe, 6-day UVI Forecast and Ozone Column information so you can prepare in advance, and the complete Fitzpatrick Skin Type Assessment system used by dermatologists to determine which sunscreen is best based on your skin type.
Wolfram Sun Exposure Reference App
Want to know exactly what the sun has in store for you on a particular day? The Wolfram Sun Exposure Reference App calculates how long your skin can be exposed to the sun without burning based on your skin type, location, time, and the level of Sun protection factor (SPF) you might be using. Also delivers information on the UV levels for a five-day period that includes the past 24 hours.
EWG Sunscreen Buyer’s Guide
We love the Environmental Working Group because they do tons of research so the rest of us can easily access information about toxins in our environment. In this free Sunscreen Buyer’s app, EWG rates the safety and efficacy of more than 1,400 sunscreens, lotions, lip products and makeups that advertise sun protection. Shockingly, EWG researchers found that only 25 percent of products on the market in 2013 offer strong and broad UV protection and pose few safety concerns.
If you do find something suspicious on your skin, how do you know whether it’s serious enough to head to the dermatologist? The SkinVision app can help you perform an in-depth assessment to determine whether a mole or freckle is worth worrying about. Recently nominated for an Index Award in the body category, this app allows users to analyze their skin lesions by taking a picture on their smartphone. The app analyzes the mole and provides a risk classification, telling the user whether the mole is suspicious or not suspicious and encourages users to see a dermatologist.
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