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local doctor talks about importance of protecting yourself against skin cancer

(As Seen on WISH)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As the summer season heats up, local physicians are raising awareness about the importance of protecting oneself from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Dr. Melanie Kingsley, an expert dermatologist at MK Dermatology in Carmel, stresses the significance of sun protection and regular skin checks to safeguard against skin cancer.

To shield your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, Kingsley recommends seeking shade whenever possible or applying sunscreen at least 20 minutes before sun exposure, particularly between 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

It’s important to note that even on cloudy days, UV radiation can still pose a risk, so lasting protection requires sunscreen reapplication every two hours. When choosing a sunscreen, Kingsley advises looking for products labeled as “broad spectrum,” offering protection against both UVA and UVB rays, with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. These guidelines help ensure adequate protection against skin damage and reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Kingsley debunks a common misconception that darker-skinned tones are immune to skin cancer. While it is true that they may have a higher melanin content, which provides some natural protection against sunburns, they are not exempt from the risks of skin cancer. Darker-skinned people are more likely to have a higher mortality rate from melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, primarily due to late diagnosis and delayed treatment.

“It’s crucial to understand that patients with darker skin types are still susceptible to sun damage and can develop skin cancer. We see skin cancer across all skin types. Protecting your skin every day is of utmost importance. Preventing sunburn and early detection of skin changes are critical in minimizing the risk of skin cancer development over time,” Kingsley emphasized.

Sunburns play a significant role in increasing the risk of skin cancer. Kingsley suggests wearing appropriate clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and UV-resistant sunglasses when outdoors to provide additional protection. Furthermore, she strongly advises against using tanning beds, as they expose the skin to intense levels of UV radiation and substantially increase the risk of developing skin cancer.

As part of their effort to protect citizens during extreme temperatures, Indy Parks is opening cooling centers around Indianapolis.

In conclusion, skin cancer can affect anyone, regardless of skin type. By adhering to the advice of experts like Kingsley and taking preventive measures, such as applying sunscreen, seeking shade, and avoiding tanning beds, we can significantly reduce the risk of developing skin cancer and enjoy a safe and healthy summer season.