Colleen Fermon, Director
24 Green St.
Ipswich, MA 01938
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Ipswich Public Health Department Offers Sun Safety Tips
IPSWICH — As temperatures rise and residents prepare to spend more time outdoors, the Ipswich Health Department is raising awareness about the risks of sun damage and providing tips to ensure sun safety this summer.
The sun’s UV rays are most hazardous between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. daylight savings time (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. standard time), and are strongest during the late spring and early summer months.
Consequences of overexposure to the sun include sunburns, premature aging of the skin, wrinkling and skin cancer. The most preventable cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, either from the sun or from artificial sources like tanning beds.
Everyone is at risk for skin cancer, but the risk is greatest for people with white or light-colored skin with freckles, blond or red hair and blue or green eyes.
In order to protect yourself, Ipswich Public Health recommends that residents:
- Use sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher liberally and often. Be sure to reapply every two hours and on dry skin whenever you get out of the water. Wet skin doesn’t allow for sunscreen to apply properly.
- Apply sunscreen at least 10 to 15 minutes before going outside or in the water.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. Use umbrellas at the beach and sit in the shade when possible.
- Wear hats that shade the face and neck, and shirts and long pants when temperatures allow.
- Wear sunscreen even on cloudy days.
- Wear sunglasses that wrap around your face to help block as many UVA and UVB rays as possible, to protect your eyes, and to reduce the risk of cataracts.
- Avoid tanning booths. The UV light from the bulbs in a tanning booth is just as damaging as that from the sun, causing skin cells to mutate.
- Avoid burns. Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays in as little as 15 minutes but can take up to 12 hours for skin to show the full effect of sun exposure.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, a change in your skin is the most common sign of skin cancer. Call your doctor if you have any of these signs:
- Moles that change color, shape or height.
- A new mole that appears and looks different from others.
- Bleeding or painful moles, moles that vary in color, or moles that are asymmetrical.
- Spots or bumps that get larger or harder.
“We’re asking all residents to join us in taking action to prevent skin cancer and reduce the risk of UV damage this summer,” said Colleen Fermon, Ipswich Director of Public Health. “Make sure that you’re applying sunscreen, even on cloudy days, and reapplying often. If you’re concerned about any changes in your skin, call your doctor right away.”
For more information about sun safety or protecting your skin, contact the Ipswich Health Department at 978-356-6606.