Help decide what’s next for OHSU’s free sunscreen program

A new online survey aims to learn more about your sun protection habits and help determine next steps for OHSU’s free sunscreen dispensers. Participants have a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

Sunscreen-dispenser_2017The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and the Department of Dermatology installed free sunscreen dispensers at the OHSU Farmers Market and the Go by Bike area near the lower Tram terminal this summer.

Now, the organizations are inviting users to share their thoughts about the dispensers and their sun protection habits via a brief online survey. The information collected will be used to help inform the future of the program and to learn more about the community’s sun safety habits. Ultimately, the program aims to help reduce the incidence of skin cancer in the OHSU community.

Oregon has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the nation. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S., yet in many cases can be prevented. Unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the most avoidable risk factor for skin cancer.

Complete the survey by Oct. 27 and be
entered for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card

Last year, a dispenser was installed at the bike valet as part of a two-week pilot program in response to requests from members of the OHSU community to provide free sunscreen on campus. It sparked conversation, and with nearly 400 survey responses, the team learned that people will use free sunscreen if it’s available in public places. In many cases, respondents said they forget to use sunscreen or use other sun protection measures such as long-sleeved clothing. This feedback led to continuing the program this summer, extending its duration, and adding a second location.

Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Melanoma Research Program at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and chair of the OHSU Department of Dermatology

Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Melanoma Research Program at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and chair of the OHSU Department of Dermatology

The dispensers contain an SPF-30 broad spectrum sunscreen offering UVA and UVB protection and include a complete list of ingredients. Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D, chair of the OHSU Department of Dermatology and director of the Knight Cancer Institute’s Melanoma Program, suggests the following tips when using sunscreen:

  • Ingredients matter. Look for a sunscreen ideally with titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide as its only active ingredients and with at least SPF 30. If you meet those two criteria, you’ve got a great sunscreen. Some sunscreens can cause skin irritation. Avoid oxybenzone as many can develop a reaction to it.
  • Apply more than once. Apply sunscreen like you would paint a room. Start with a base coat when you leave the house and apply a second coat when you get to your destination. Oftentimes, people miss spots and/or don’t apply enough.
  • Protect your skin every day. Sunscreen isn’t just for sunny days. Damaging UV rays are present on cloudy days too. Limiting your lifetime exposure to UV rays is one of the best ways to help reduce your risk for skin cancer.

The cities of Boston and Miami Beach were among the first to install free sunscreen dispensers in public areas. Now, dispensers can be found in cities across the country. This year, New York City installed dispensers at all public pools and beaches as part of a two-year pilot project.

Visit the OHSU Dermatology website to learn more about sunscreen and sun protection.>Apply more than once. Apply sunscreen like you would paint a room. Start with a base coat when you leave the house and apply a second coat when you get to your destination. Oftentimes, people miss spots and/or don’t apply enough.

  • Protect your skin every day. Sunscreen isn’t just for sunny days. Damaging UV rays are present on cloudy days too. Limiting your lifetime exposure to UV rays is one of the best ways to help reduce your risk for skin cancer.

The cities of Boston and Miami Beach were among the first to install free sunscreen dispensers in public areas. Now, dispensers can be found in cities across the country. This year, New York City installed dispensers at all public pools and beaches as part of a two-year pilot project.

Visit the OHSU Dermatology website to learn more about sunscreen and sun protection.

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President Robertson is fond of saying that OHSU has a 96,000 square mile campus, serving Oregonians “from Enterprise to Coos Bay, from Portland to Klamath Falls.”

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