What does Gen Z need to know about sunscreen to protect against skin cancer?

Two new studies suggest a troubling trend: Young people seem to be slacking on sun protection.

In an online survey of more than 1,000 people published this month American Academy of Dermatology, 28 percent of 18- to 26-year-olds said they did not believe suntans cause skin cancer. And 37 percent said they wore sunscreen.

In another survey, The Orlando Health Cancer Institute released this month that 14 percent of adults under 35 believed the myth that wearing sunscreen daily is more harmful than direct sunlight. Although the studies were too small to capture the behaviors of all adolescents, doctors reported that they observed these knowledge gaps and risky behaviors among their younger patients as well.

To some extent, experts say, this issue is not unique to the current generation of youth. “There is an element of youth being youth,” said Dr. said Melissa Shiv, a dermatologist at UCI Health in Irvine, Calif. Census A study conducted between 1986 and 1996 found that 18- to 24-year-olds (now middle-aged) were more likely to visit tanning booths and get sunburned than older adults.

Young people often don’t know what sun damage looks like and how to prevent it, Dr. Shiv said. He said he recently saw a young patient who had unrecognizable brown skin and signs of sun exposure. Dr. Heather Rogers, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Washington, says more of her young patients are now going to tanning beds. Ultraviolet rays – from tanning beds or direct sunlight – can damage the skin and cause skin cancer, which can be fatal.

See also  Chrissy Teigen and John Legend secretly welcomed another baby via surrogate

Older adults who participated in recent surveys lacked proper sun protection knowledge, for one thing: 17 percent of millennials surveyed by the AAD were unaware of the risk of skin cancer. But overall, younger adults — most of whom fall into Gen Z, meaning those born after 1997 — are more likely to believe sun safety myths.

Gen Z is uniquely susceptible to the proliferation of sunscreen and skin cancer misinformation on social media sites like TikTok, experts said. They pointed to posts by influencers who falsely claim that sunscreen causes cancer, or posts by celebrities who say they don’t use sunscreen because it interferes with vitamin D absorption. (Years of scientific evidence support the benefits of sunscreen in preventing skin cancer, Dr. Shiv said.)

“The problem with social media is that no one checks what’s out there,” says Dr. Ida Orengo, MD, chair of the department of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

“It can help get information about preventing skin cancer, but it can do the opposite and make things worse,” he said.

An Orlando Health poll found that nearly a quarter of respondents under the age of 35 believed staying hydrated prevented sunburn. (There’s no evidence that it can.) In an AAD survey, a quarter of 18- to 26-year-olds believed that getting a base tan could prevent skin cancer, regardless of whether the tan damages skin cells, Dr. Rogers said. .

Most sun protection recommendations are the same for all ages, Dr. Shiv said. And anyone can get sunburn and skin cancer, so the advice applies regardless of skin color, said Dr. Meredith McNamara, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine who specializes in adolescent medicine.

See also  An F1 rule that gave Russell the lead over Verstappen after setting the same time

Look for shade. If you’re going to be in the sun for a long time, Dr. Rogers recommends an umbrella. Dr Orengo said shade is most important between 10am and 4pm when the sun is at its hottest.

Wear protective clothing from the sun. Long sleeves and pants can help protect your skin, especially if they’re made of materials with a UV protection factor, or UPF, rating, Dr. Shiv said. Wide-brimmed hats are also a good idea.

Apply sunscreen liberally – reapply. Even when it’s cloudy or cool, UV rays can damage the skin, so experts recommend wearing sunscreen every day. The best sunscreen is at least SPF 30 and labeled as “broad spectrum,” Dr. Rogers said. It blocks both UVA and UVB types of UV rays.

Apply sunscreen every morning before leaving the house. If you’re outdoors, Dr. Shiv says reapply every two hours, or more often if you sweat or swim.

Check your skin. Primary care physicians or dermatologists may examine a patient’s skin during an annual exam, Dr. McNamara said. But if you see an unusual mole — uneven, uneven border or unusual color, larger than a quarter inch, or rapidly changing — Dr. Orengo recommends seeing a dermatologist right away.

Think of skin care as a retirement fund. Arizona Cancer Center dermatologist Dr. Clara Curiel-Lewandrowski offered a Gen Z-specific tip: Approach sun protection like “an investment in your future health.” The more you protect your skin when you’re young, the better you’ll be protected against skin cancer and wrinkles and spots from sun exposure later in life.

See also  Chip stocks drag US futures; Stoxx 600 Gains: Markets Wrap Up

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *