Ask your dermatologist if you'd benefit from a retinoid or vitamin B in the evening. "Using a cream with niacinamide [a form of vitamin B3] at night can help your skin cells repair themselves from DNA damage," says Dr. Baumann. Alternatively, a topical retinoid (such as retinol, tretinoin or tazarotene), which is derived from vitamin A, can get rid of precancerous lesions called actinic keratosis and may help reverse sun-inflicted harm to the skin, notes Mary Lupo, M.D., a dermatologist in New Orleans. "This is likely due to both an anti-inflammatory mechanism and the normalization of cellular processes," she says.
Believe it or not, carrying around extra weight could increase your odds of skin cancer. A University of Iowa study of nearly 45,000 people found that those with the highest body mass index had 2 1/2 times greater odds of developing melanoma. Part of the danger may have to do with the increased skin surface area that occurs with obesity, but excess body fat also could produce hormonal changes and chronic inflammation, says Albert Lefkovits, M.D., an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. Getting rid of those extra pounds may not only reverse the trend but also make you feel better than ever in a bathing suit this season.
After analyzing 25 studies, researchers concluded that smoking raises your risk of squamous-cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer, by 52 percent. Tobacco smoke is a carcinogen, just like the sun's ultraviolet rays, so you're increasing your risk when you expose yourself to both, Dr. Lefkovits says. Plus, tobacco and UV radiation suppress immune function. Talk to your M.D. about which smoking-cessation strategies are likely to help you quit for good.