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That basic rule "know thyself" can help prevent a pleasant seaside vacation from turning into a skin cancer risk, Australian dermatologists report.
A detailed study of 88 Hawaii vacationers identified three groups of people with distinct characteristics and sun protection behaviors, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Dermatology by researchers at the University of Queensland:
"Specific strategies should target the subsets of the beach-going population—particularly those in group 2, the tan-seekers—that intend to tan and sunburn repeatedly, taking into account their relevant personal attributes and behavior patterns," the researchers wrote.
A targeted message is needed for that group, said Dr. Susan Weinkle, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of South Florida and a member of the Skin Cancer Foundation. "These vacationers are at high risk of skin cancer, and we are not getting the message across," Weinkle said. "People like me who live right on the beach use more sun-protective clothing and don't go to the beach with the primary goal of getting a tan. People who are on vacation often end up with sunburn."