A risk factor is a characteristic, behavior, or condition that raises the possibility of developing a disease. The biggest risk factor for skin cancer is exposure to UV radiation. Here are some of the other risk factors for skin cancer:
Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation
UV radiation from the sun and tanning beds can damage the DNA of your skin cells and cause them to become malignant. You are at an increased risk for skin cancer if you have a history of bad sunburns or if you frequently go tanning.
People with pale skin, blue eyes, blonde or red hair, and a lot of freckles tend to burn more easily and are at an increased risk for skin cancer.
Personal or Family History
People who have had skin cancer, or who have had family members with skin cancer, are at increased risk for developing another skin cancer.
Your risk for skin cancer increases with age, as you have been exposed to the sun for a longer period of time.
Men are at higher risk than women for developing both basal and squamous cell skin cancer.
Previous Skin Injuries
Previous skin injuries like a major scar or burn may increase your risk for skin cancer.
Actinic (Solar) Keratosis
Actinic keratosis is a precancerous condition in which you develop rough, scaly patches on your skin, usually in sun-exposed areas. This condition can eventually develop into squamous cell carcinoma. It is important to differentiate this from seborrheic keratosis, which is benign.
Exposure to certain chemicals and substances such as coal, tar, arsenic, creosote, and paraffin may increase your risk for skin cancer.