A Guide To Teen Sun Safety

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It takes only one long day in the summer sun to realize the importance of protection. Now that school’s out and teens are spending more time outside, it’s time to get them thinking seriously about how they can avoid nasty sunburns—or worse, melanoma.   

The Teenage Cancer Trust, a UK-based charity dedicated to providing expert treatment and support to teenagers and young adults with cancer, disclosed that according to research, nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of young people aged 13-24 avoid using sunscreen entirely. They also found that 90 percent of young people have been sunburnt before, with over 36 percent admitting that they have been burnt more than 5 times.

The latest skin cancer statistics indicate that increasing awareness and promoting healthy sun exposure is more pressing than ever. But while it may seem like lathering lotion is a simple solution to protect against the sun’s harmful rays, people tend to rely on it too heavily.

ConsumerReport’s annual sunscreen ratings revealed that many sunblocks have a considerably lower SPF than advertised—and that’s true for every SPF level. Therefore, it’s almost impossible to know exactly how much SPF we are actually getting.

So, how can you maximize your teen’s fun in the sun? Here are some tips:

  • Always choose higher SPF sunblock

Selecting a sunscreen with an SPF of 40 or higher will increase your chances of getting at least an SPF of 30, the minimum level that dermatologists recommend.

  •  Apply sunscreen on all exposed areas

One place where dermatologists often see skin cancer is on the scalp, where women part their hair. Additionally, sunbathers generally overlook the exposed skin around the edges of their bathing suit straps, as well as their ears, eyelids, and lips. They’re body parts that we easily forget about, but they’re quick to burn!

  • Reapply after swimming, sweating, or toweling off

If you’re going to be exercising or swimming, it’s probably worth using water resistant sunscreen. The FDA defines “water resistant” sunscreen as sunscreen that stays fully effective after 40 or 80 minutes in the water, depending on the brand.

  • Stay in the shade whenever possible

Though you can’t fully reduce your risk of skin damage by simply sitting in the shade, you’re probably not going to get sunburnt if you spend all day sitting under a tree, umbrella, or even sporting a hat that shades your face.