Officials broke ground Tuesday on a new skin care center in the Richland Y that will expand local offerings in cosmetic and medical dermatology, including more capacity to treat skin cancer.
The $3 million, 23,000-square-foot building in the Port of Kennewick's Spaulding Business Park will be the new home for DermaHealth Dermatology & Dermasurgery and DermaCare of Tri-Cities, as well as offering space for other businesses to open offices or shops.
The two dermatology businesses will occupy 11,000 square feet within the two-story building, which should be finished by the end of the year, said Dr. Sidney B. Smith, medical director and co-owner of both businesses.
DermaHealth specializes in diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer and skin disease, and will be the first clinic of its kind in southeast Washington to be certified by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care when the practice moves into the new building.
DermaCare is a "medispa" that offers a range of cosmetic and aesthetic options for skin, hair and nails, including laser procedures, Botox, fillers like Restylane and Raiasse, microdermabrasion, medical-grade skin care products and mineral makeups.
DermaCare's current office is 3,000 square feet, and DermaHealth's is 1,600 square feet, so the move almost will triple the space for the two businesses.
But what really excites Smith, a board certified dermatologist, is the chance to expand his treatment of patients with skin cancer and other diseases and conditions.
With a climate in which the sun shines "300 days a year," the Tri-Cities is a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy soaking up some rays while boating, biking or walking amidst the ruggedly beautiful landscape.
But that famous sunshine also puts locals at risk for skin cancer if they don't practice good habits such as wearing hats, sunglasses and sunscreen, Smith said.
"The prevalence of skin cancer is very significant," he said. "We expect one in four to five people to get it. That's where we can step in and help. ... We're excited to be able to help anyone who has skin needs. The skin is the largest organ in the body, but it's often the most neglected."
Richland Mayor John Fox was present for the ground breaking, and said after his own experiences with minor skin cancers, and watching a neighbor's son die from a melanoma left untreated for too long, he welcomes expanded skin care offerings to the city.
"I'm sure there's lots of need, particularly for care of skin cancers," he told the Herald.
-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; email@example.com