Melanoma can be prevented, primarily by staying out of the sun. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re protected because you only sunbathe on weekends or on vacation. Studies show that those who are exposed to bursts of sunlight are more likely to develop melanoma than people who are outdoors on a regular basis. What’s more, keep in mind that sun protection is a year-round affair, not just a summer safety issue. In fact, melanomas on the head, scalp and neck—parts of the body that are exposed no matter the season—are more dangerous than those on the arms or legs.
- Reduce exposure to sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Make a habit of wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more (using a moisturizer or foundation with that level of sun protection will free you from the extra step of applying a sunscreen).
- Don’t use tanning lamps—with or without protection.
- Wear a hat, long-sleeved shirt and long pants when in the sun.
- Take extra precautions to avoid sun exposure when taking medications that are photosensitive.