Sunscreen Not Used in Young Teens, Study Says
Most young teenagers and pre-adolescents don’t use sunscreen regularly, a new study from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has found. According to ABC News, previous experience with sunburns wasn’t enough to persuade 10- to 13-year olds to protect themselves from the risk of developing melanoma later in life.
To reach their conclusions, researchers followed 360 children who were about 10 years old between 2004 and 2007, and questioned them on their history with sunscreen and sunburns. More than half of the study participants reported having at least one sunburn during each of the three summers included in the study’s time frame.
And not only were the children not wearing sunscreen, they were actually using less of it as time went one.
“At the same time, there was a significant reduction in reported sunscreen use,” said lead author Stephen Dusza. He reported that while 50 percent of kids used sunscreen at the beginning of the study, only 25 percent still said they used it three years later.
Dusza said most young teenagers are concerned with the appearance of a tan, which is likely one of the reasons for the drop off in sunscreen use.
“When you ask kids or teens about tanning, they say people look better with a tan, and tanning has a very positive association in kids of this age, so trying to get them to limit this behavior is a difficult message to get across,” he said.
The message of sun safety will indeed be a difficult one to play, with fair-skinned children reporting the least amount of sunscreen use and the highest risk factors for melanoma. Melanoma is already on the rise in young adults, ABC said.