Tyler dermatologist uses personal experience with melanoma to help promote skin protection

Dr. Jenni Holman used tanning bed two times a day in college
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Published: May. 10, 2022 at 6:58 PM CDT|Updated: May. 10, 2022 at 8:22 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - As the weather warms up, East Texans are looking to get that first tan of the season. An East Texas dermatologist says May is when she sees the worst sunburns of the year, whether it’s the result of people forgetting about skin protection on that first trip to the pool or people working on a “base tan.”

“And that’s just building up your cancer tolerance so you can add more carcinogens on top of it,” said Dr. Jenni Holman, a board-certified dermatologist with U.S. Dermatology Partners in Tyler.

Before Holman was a doctor, she was a normal college student looking to get the best tan.

“I had two tanning bed memberships because they’d only let you go once a day with your membership,” she said. “So I had two. I’d go in the morning and again in the afternoon. It was kind of my ‘me time.’”

All of that time spent in the tanning bed would result in Holman being diagnosed with early-stage melanoma and then the surgical removal of a spot on her leg.

Jenni Holman said she used tanning beds two times a day in college.
Jenni Holman said she used tanning beds two times a day in college.(Courtesy photo)

Holman says one tanning session alone can increase the chances of developing melanoma by 75% before the age of 35. She now uses her own personal experience to help East Texans protect their skin.

“Common sense kind of things that you always think about: physical protection, hats, sunglasses, long sleeves when it’s appropriate,” she said. “Also, avoid the peak hours of the day between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when you can. Stay in the shade when you can, and reapply your sun protection as well.”

And when it comes to sunscreen, Holman says protection typically plateaus around SPF 30.

“Where I see folks miss the boat, is they grab a 100 SPF and they think they’re good all day long,” she said. “Water resistant sunscreens are typically only good for about 75 to 90 minutes. So regardless of the number, which should be at least a 30 and broad spectrum, which means you’re protected against both UVA and UVB radiation, but then reapplying especially for in the water about every 90 minutes.”

And when it comes to spotting potential melanoma spots, Holman reminds people of the A,B,C,D,E,s of melanoma (asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolving). If you find something of concern, contact your doctor.

“Don’t wait. Get an appointment. Get it checked. We’d always rather say that it’s nothing to worry about than to let something go on for too long when things can actually cause you significant health problems.”

Holman also busted the myth of base tans. She likened it to smoking 10 cigarettes a day, so you can go on vacation and smoke 20 a day. She said the safer option is to get your tan out of a bottle or spray.

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