According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, sunburns are a significant risk factor for skin cancer. Massachusetts as a whole is ranked 9th in the United States for their rates of new melanoma cases, based off of EPA findings. Specifically, Nantucket is ranked 5th in the United States for new cases of melanoma, the current rate being 146% higher than the national average.
Because of these findings, it is very important to take sun safety seriously on the island. Here are some simple steps to help reduce your risk of getting skin cancer:
- Make sure to use sunscreen! Apply before you go to the beach or any other outdoor activity and reapply throughout the day. It is recommended to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Cover up with hats, sunglasses, towels, blankets, and use umbrellas when exposed to lots of sun.
- Between the hours of 10am and 4pm, when the UV rays are usually the strongest, go to shaded areas when possible.
- Avoid getting burns, do so by applying sunscreen regularly when outside.
- Even on cloudy days, be sure to apply the proper amount of sunscreen.
Sun burns are caused by exposure UV rays that are present in sunlight. It is very important to prevent overexposure to both sunlight and sunburns. This is the best way to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. Children are especially susceptible to overexposure, so make sure to take extra precaution in protecting them from sun burns.
Some common questions that arise...
What is UV and how can I monitor the rays I am getting?
-UV is ultraviolet radiation that comes with exposure to the sun. To monitor the UV levels, which are ranked on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being the highest UV, you can check weather reports using weather apps and the internet. The UV changes throughout the day so make sure to check often, especially before going outdoors!
What sunscreen should I use and how often should I apply it?
-It is important to use a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, and you should reapply about every 2 hours. However, these numbers change depending if you are swimming, sweating, etc. In these cases you should reapply more often than every 2 hours.
I noticed some discoloration on one of my freckles that I've never seen before, what do I do?
-If you notice changes in moles or freckles, don't panic. Make an appointment with a dermatologist to get it checked out!