Boston to offer free sunscreen in some city parks

Is the sun frying your skin? Help may be on the way.

Boston will provide free sunscreen dispensers in some city parks, becoming the first major city in the Northeast to begin such a program, the mayor’s office said.

In a partnership with the Melanoma Foundation of New England, and the group Make Big Change, 30 dispensers will be placed in five city parks. The program could be expanded throughout Boston, depending on its success, Mayor Martin J. Walsh said.


“Skin cancer and melanoma are among the most prevalent cancers,” said City Councilor Matt O’Malley, who first proposed a citywide sunscreen program. “They’re also among the most preventable.”

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“Once again, Boston will lead the way,” he said in a statement.

The dispensers will be placed in Millennium Park in West Roxbury, Jamaica Pond in Jamaica Plain, Boston Common, Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park in the North End, and East Boston Stadium and Memorial Park in East Boston.

“Preventing skin cancer is a public health imperative,” Walsh said in the statement. “Strategically placed sunscreen dispensers offer the public an easy preventive measure to avoid sun overexposure.”

The dispensers are weather-resistant and low-maintenance, he said, and hold all-natural SPF-30 sunscreen, which is safe for people 6 months and older. All ingredients will be printed on the machines and further information will be available upon request.


The Melanoma Foundation will subsidize the cost of the dispensers.

Rebecca Fiore can be reached at

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the Melanoma Foundation’s role in placing public dispensers in New England.