A survey on sunburns suggests that young people of color are at risk for skin cancer.

Researchers polled people in Florida, the Sunshine State, to determine what factors were associated with a heightened risk of sunburn, which in turn increases a person’s risk of skin cancer. According to an article in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, sunburns were most likely in people between 18 and 29 years old, a finding that is “particularly troubling” considering melanoma is one of the most prevalent types of cancer in that age bracket. Being of a nonwhite race was also considered a significant factor in sunburn risk, perhaps because those people “may think that their darker skin protects them from sunburn and as a result do not practice sun-protective behaviors.”

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The article calls for anti-sunburn information and programs geared toward young people in order to reduce their risk: “Messages from osteopathic physicians through texts, social media, or websites to disseminate this information to their patients may also be effective.”

Skin cancer is becoming more common in the United States, according to the researchers, and melanoma is particularly deadly because it often spreads to other body parts. Many of those melanomas can be linked to exposure to radiation from the sun.

“Osteopathic medicine is largely focused on prevention, and melanoma, the skin cancer caused by sun exposure, is imminently preventable,” the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Tracy Favreau, an osteopathic dermatologist in Florida, said in a statement from the American Osteopathic Association. “The concern here is that participants with high melanin content skin may think they’re naturally protected from sunburn, which isn’t true.”

Other factors that can contribute to melanoma but are not necessarily preventable are being male, having fair skin and a family history of the cancer.

When it comes to preventing sunburn and radiation exposure, that means putting on sunblock lotion even in the winter — the ultraviolet rays that are harmful to your skin in the summer still reach Earth in the winter or on cloudy days.

See also:

Home Remedies for Dry Skin

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