Help Teens Practice Safer Sun. Part 1

Talking to your teen about sun protection might sound unnecessary — but maybe not when you consider the following:

Eighty percent of a person’s lifetime sun exposure occurs before age 18.
Blistering sunburns in childhood and adolescence increase a person’s lifetime risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer.
Use of sunscreen in children can reduce their overall number of moles. Having a large number of moles is a risk factor for melanoma.
And get this: Melanoma is??? the most common cancer in women between the ages of 25 and 29. How many years before your teenager is in that age group?
Bottom line: Sun protection must be a lifelong habit that begins at birth with avoidance of sunburns, and continues into adulthood and old age.

Teenagers especially need counseling about sun protection since they are risk-takers by nature. They may think it’s perfectly okay to bask in the sun for hours, or to frequent the tanning parlor. Nothing could be further from the truth, and it’s up to you to let them know it.

Here’s what you can do to help your teen practice safer sun without turning him or her into a hermit.

Know the Facts
Be armed with knowledge about the sun and skin cancer:

The sun’s energy sustains our life on earth — yet that same energy is responsible for 90 percent of all skin cancers.
The three common sun-related skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. These can all be cured if caught early enough.
Thirty percent of melanomas occur in people under???age 45.
Both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun can damage the skin.
All people — no matter what their age or skin color — need protection against the damaging rays of the sun.

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