Before you take to the outdoors to enjoy Ohio’s summer sun, Hamilton-based dermatologist Louis Luke Barich, M.D., encourages everyone to review skin safety practices. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, nearly 90% of skin cancer cases — and 86% of melanoma cases — are caused by exposure to harmful UV rays from the sun. Fortunately, Dr. Barich says there’s a lot you can do to protect your skin from the sun.
5 Melanoma Prevention Tips
1. Cover Up
When you’re outdoors, clothing is your best defense against the sun’s rays. Wear closed shoes, pants and long-sleeve shirts. It’s also a great idea to wear a hat with at least a two-inch brim to shade your face from the sun.
2. Embrace the Shade
Going outside to enjoy the summer doesn’t have to mean being directly in the sunlight. Make an effort to sit under umbrellas, eat meals under awnings, or relax in other shaded areas to keep your skin out of the sun’s path. Seeking out the shade is vital when the sun’s rays are at their strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
3. Apply Sunscreen for Full Coverage
If your skin is going to be exposed to the sun, it’s essential that you regularly apply an appropriate sunscreen to block out the UV rays. Even if it’s overcast, you should use broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of at least 30 SPF or higher. Cover all areas of exposed skin and have another person help get those hard-to-reach areas. Protection should be reapplied every two hours or after you swim or sweat.
4. Wear Sunglasses
Did you know that melanoma can develop in your eyes? To protect yourself from this skin cancer risk, wear sunglasses whenever you’re outdoors. Note that not all sunglasses will provide protection, so be sure to wear only those that are labeled to block 100% of UV rays.
5. Avoid Tanning Booths
As much as you may want to get ahead on your tan for the summer, it’s never a good idea to use a tanning booth. They emit UV rays that can increase your risk of melanoma. If you must achieve that sun-kissed look, there are several self-tanning lotions that use DHA, an FDA-approved additive that temporarily darkens skin.
While following these steps can help reduce your risk of melanoma, it’s also important to regularly check your skin for abnormal changes. The earlier you spot skin cancer, the better chance you have of correcting the problem with a trusted dermatologist.
Whether you need a routine checkup or have specific concerns, Louis Luke Barich, M.D., offers top-notch skin care in Hamilton, OH. Contact the dermatology office at (513) 863-3555 to schedule an appointment or visit them online to learn more about their services.