Melanoma occurs both in areas that are sun-exposed and areas that are not. Our recommended primary prevention: sunscreen. It’s one of the big reasons why we so strongly encourage everyone to follow the Two-Hour Rule: reapply SPF every two hours, whether indoors or outdoors. We also encourage more frequent reapplication (40-80 minutes) after swimming, sweating or toweling off to ensure you’re always properly protected. Our recommendation as a secondary prevention: sun smart (taking smart sun measures such as self exams, wearing protective clothing, and seeking shade during the hottest parts of the day).
Another scary statistic: The chance of dying from melanoma is three times higher in People of Color due to detection happening at a later stage (which leads to a poorer prognosis). Darker complexions may have a natural SPF 13 thanks to skin pigment, but although dark skin is less likely to experience sunburn, the DNA in the skin cells is equally as susceptible to damage.
The takeaway here is that everyone — regardless of skin color — needs to be diligent about daily sun protection and should live by the Two-Hour Rule. When caught early, the melanoma survival rate is 97%, but this type of skin cancer spreads quickly and is much more difficult to successfully treat if it affects other organs.
Remember: Daily sun protection is the key to healthy skin.