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Vincent C. Hung, MD, MOHS Surgery, Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, Cosmetic Surgery

Is Sun Exposure the Only Cause of Skin Cancer?

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3 Minute Read: 

Most people assume that skin cancer is only caused by prolonged exposure to the sun. It’s true, the sun’s UV rays are the leading cause of skin cancer; however, many other lifestyle factors can influence skin cancer development. 

Let’s look at lesser-known causes of skin cancer, so you can work to prevent it.

Women getting a mole on her back checked by a doctor, potentially for skin cancer

What Are the Common Causes of Skin Cancer?


The leading cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays produced by sunlight. 

However, the sun is not the only way to be exposed to UV radiation. Another is tanning beds. 

Like the sun, tanning beds emit both UVA and UVB rays. Both of these penetrate the skin, and both can increase your risk of skin cancer (not to mention premature aging, rashes, and even allergic reactions). 

To make things worse, since indoor tanning does not require good weather, people can use these devices year-round, increasing their exposure to harmful UV rays.


Unfortunately, some skin cancer factors cannot be avoided. Your genetics play a huge factor, and there is nothing you can do to change that. This means that you will need to be vigilant and aware of warning signs. 

Although, skin cancer can affect anyone:
  • Studies have shown that men are more prone to melanoma than women, and Caucasian men have a higher risk than other ethnicities. 
  • Certain genetic disorders that affect the pigmentation of the skin make people more prone to skin cancer. 
  • People with fair skin and freckles are more likely to suffer burns from the sun, increasing their risk of damage. 
  • Additionally, people prone to moles have a higher chance of developing skin cancer than those with fewer moles.

Additional Factors

Some people develop skin cancer if they have been exposed to high levels of X-rays or have been in contact with chemicals, such as arsenic, which miners and farmers commonly use. 

Skin cancer can also be caused by hydrocarbons which are present in tar, soot, and oils.

How Can I Reduce the Chances of Developing Skin Cancer?

The best way to reduce the chances of developing skin cancer is awareness and proper sun protection. 

Ensure that you always put sunscreen on and don’t sit or lay in the sun for long periods — especially during peak hours. It’s also best to avoid visiting tanning salons, which can damage your skin and may cause skin cancer in the long run.

People with moles should consider making a mole map. That way, they can keep an eye on their moles and watch for any unusual changes in shape, size, or color.

For more information about how to identify a melanoma, read our blog here

Contact Dr. Hung Today!

If you have any moles that you are worried about or have recently noticed changes to your skin, it’s best to visit a doctor for a check-up. 

Skin cancer affects as many as one in five Americans; however, it is usually very treatable when found early.

If you live in Southern California, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Vincent Hung. The team can be reached at (626) 432-5032 for more information about skin cancer tests and treatment, including Mohs Surgery.