Improving Sun Protection for Children and Adolescents
Minimizing ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure during childhood and adolescence may be the most important factor in preventing skin cancer. The risk for this cancer is particularly strongly associated with cumulative UV exposure and sunburn early in life. From 25% to 50% of an individual's lifetime sun exposure occurs before ages 18 to 21 years. The challenge is twofold: getting parents and other caregivers to change their sun protection behavior, and motivating adolescents to adopt safer sun-related practices. A review article in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology examines several aspects of this topic.
@aparajita Although teenagers often have a high level of awareness of the risks of sun exposure, many adolescents feel better and feel they look healthier with a tan. In general, many adolescents tend to focus more on the here and now than on possible hypothetical risks that may or may not arise in the future. These perceptions have been evaluated in a small study of adolescent girls in England. The investigators concluded that the participants believed looking tanned in the short term was worth the risk of cosmetic and health consequences in the long term. For many adolescents, sun exposure is a constant positive reminder of leisure, vacations, and health, and the reactivation of positive experiences can enhance their mood.