Stay Safe While Enjoying Central Oregon

Spring fever is upon us, and this year the feeling is more intense than ever. After a long winter of being indoors, Central Oregonians are shedding their layers and exposing their skin to the natural elements. But not so fast! Yes, the sun does feel wonderful and warm, but precautions need to be taken to keep skin safe from its damaging effects.

“Tan skin is damaged skin,” says Dr. Gerald Peters (MD, FAAD, FACMS) of Peters Dermatology Center. “Our skin cells produce more pigment in response to UV (ultraviolet) radiation damage. In this day and age, most people are very conscious of the importance of minimizing their exposure to ‘radiation.’ Think of your best, healthiest skin color as the shade you were born with.”

Dr. Peters has been helping people protect and enhance their skin for more than 20 years, and now Peters Dermatology Center is located in a new state-of-the-art facility in Bend. He says, “In addition to our four operatory suites for Mohs surgery, there are plenty of separate rooms for procedures, exams, laser surgery and PDT (photodynamic therapy). In designing a ventilation system to cope with our High Desert temperature extremes and dusty, pollen-polluted air, we fortunately positioned ourselves to adapt to COVID conditions with additional HEPA filtration, UVC and Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization.”

Visiting a dermatologist is critical for catching skin damage early on. “A single baseline exam will help determine how often future exams are needed; in many cases, it’s overkill to repeatedly come to the clinic when your risk is low,” says Dr. Peters. “Conversely, if there is high risk, it’s helpful to figure that out as soon as possible, and schedule appointments accordingly.”

In addition, “Monthly self-skin exams can be done at home as well in many cases; our focused training, during your clinic visits, will make these more effective for you and your loved ones,” according to Dr. Peters. He also adds that there is now convincing evidence that taking 500 mg. of vitamin B3 twice a day can reduce the risk of various skin cancers.

Of course, most of us know the importance of wearing a product with a high SPF number to block out harmful rays, but there’s another effective weapon in the arsenal against sun damage. “Ultraviolet protective clothing works wonders and is much more cost effective than sunscreen,” he says. “Look for comfort and style that you will enjoy; a long-sleeved shirt or long pants which are left in your drawer or closet will do you no good.”

While sunblock and UV blocking clothing are helpful in preventing sun damage, the most effective method is avoidance. “Of course, it’s impossible to completely avoid ALL sun exposure, especially for those of us who love the outdoors,” says Dr. Peters. “So try to time your outdoor activities for early morning and late afternoon/evening hours; trails, golf courses and tennis courts are often less crowded then anyway, and the fish always bite better when the shadows are long!”

Peters Dermatology Center

2353 NE Connors Ave., Bend

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