Department of Public Health
Thomas Carbone, Director of Public Health
36 Bartlet St.
Andover, MA 01810
Friday, Aug. 4, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Andover Health Division Reminds Residents to Practice Safe Sun Habits
ANDOVER — As residents continue to enjoy the sunshine and warm summer weather, the Andover Health Division is reminding the community about practicing sun safety to prevent skin cancer.
Overexposure to the sun can cause sunburns, premature aging of the skin, wrinkling and skin cancer. The most preventable cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, from either the sun or from artificial sources like tanning beds.
Though UV rays are most dangerous from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daylight saving time (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. standard time) and are strongest during the late spring and early summer months, protection from UV radiation is important year-round. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can be just as harmful on cloudy and hazy days, and can reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand and snow.
In order to prevent skin cancer and help residents practice safe sun habits, Andover Health recommends the following tips:
- 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.
- Use lip balm or cream that has SPF to protect your lips from getting sunburned or getting cold sores.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. Use umbrellas at the beach and sit in the shade when possible, especially during midday hours.
- Wear hats that shade the face and neck, and shirts and long pants when temperatures allow.
- Avoid tanning booths. The ultraviolet light from the bulbs in a tanning booth is just as damaging as that from the sun, causing skin cells to mutate.
- 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.
“We want everyone to enjoy the sunshine this summer, but cannot stress enough how important it is to protect your skin to avoid skin damage, or worse, skin cancer,” said Thomas Carbone, Andover Director of Public Health. “Skipping the sunscreen to get color is tempting, but can pose serious health risks, even to those who may not burn easily. Reapply sunscreen frequently and be sure to contact your doctor if you see any changes in your skin.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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.
- Bleeding or painful moles, moles that vary in color, or moles that are asymmetrical.
- Spots or bumps that get larger or harder.
Remember the ABCDE’s to help recognize the warning signs of an atypical mole and possible melanoma:
- Irregular Borders
- Multiple Colors
- Large Diameter (larger than the size of a pencil eraser); Darker than your other moles
- Evolving or changing moles
For more information about sun safety or protecting your skin, contact the Andover Public Health Division at 978-623-8295.