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Preventing Melanoma

While not all melanoma is preventable, you can take steps to reduce your risk for developing melanoma by following sun-safety guidelines any time you go outside.

Here are some healthy habits you should adopt to help prevent melanoma and other forms of skin cancer:

  • Wear protection.
    • Wear protective clothing that covers your skin. 
    • Wear a hat with a four-inch brim to protect your scalp, face, and back of your neck. 
    • Wear sunglasses with UV-blocking properties.
  • Apply sunscreen. Every day.
    • Wear sunscreen all over your body that can be exposed to UV rays – even on cloudy days. 
    • Choose a broad-spectrum (UV-A and UV-B) sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 (at least 30 if you’ll be outside all day). 
    • Use water-resistant sunscreen when you’ll be getting wet or sweating. 
  • Apply sunscreen early and often.
    • Put sunscreen on 30 minutes before going outside.
    • Reapply it every two hours while you’re outside. 
    • Make sure you reapply it all over after swimming, sweating a lot, or showering even if it hasn’t been two hours.
  • Stay out of direct sun.
    • Avoid going outside between 10am and 3pm when rays are strongest.
    • If you will be outside during those hours, seek out shady areas for lounging and playing.
  • If you swim outside, use rash guards and other protective clothing to help keep your skin safe. 
  • Don’t tan. 
    • Do not “lay out” to get a tan.
    • Do not use tanning beds.
    • Stay away from sun lamps.
    • Change your attitude about tanning. If you want a darker look, check out some of the self-tanning products available.
  • Do not allow your skin to burn. 
    • Skin burns are skin damage, even if they “turn into a tan.”
  • Protect children. 
    • Children and teens are more susceptible to sun damage than older people, so it’s extremely important to make sure they use sunscreen every day and avoid being in the sun between 10am and 3pm whenever possible. 
    • Remember, even one bad sunburn in childhood increases chances of developing melanoma.
  • Know the dangers.
    • Ultraviolet rays can damage your skin even if you’re under an umbrella – and even in the winter months. If you’re on sand, pavement, or snow, the sun can reflect against those surfaces and reach your skin even if you are protected from above. So even if you’re covered, wear sunscreen.
  • Examine your skin for changes.
    • Do skin self-examinations every month. 
    • Ask your doctor whether professional skin examinations are a good idea for you based on your risk factors for melanoma.
    • If you find any abnormal moles or changes in your skin, make an appointment to have a professional skin exam. 
  • Know the signs and symptoms.

Remember, there are ways to enjoy the sun while still protecting your skin. The sun is a great source of vitamin D, so we aren’t recommending that you stay inside all the time. Just be informed and be safe when you do go outside. 

Melanoma care at Beaumont

If you have any signs and symptoms of melanoma, see a doctor right away to have a skin check. Talk to your doctor about your risks for developing melanoma and how often you should have professional skin exams to prevent skin cancer from growing. Beaumont dermatologists can diagnose and treat melanoma, including performing Mohs’ surgery.

Call 800-633-7377 today to schedule an appointment with a Beaumont dermatologist or to get a referral.