Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sue Scheff: Tanning, Teens and Skin Cancer - Know the Risks

Teens and fun in the sun! Today you don't need the sun to get a tan, but do you know the dangers of tanning beds? An FDA advisory panel recommend that parents keep children and teens from using tanning beds.

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers among young adults in the United States, and the rates of skin cancer among Americans of all ages continue to rise.

While genetics play a large part in a person's cancer risk, many studies suggest that exposure to ultraviolet, or UV, light and the use of tanning beds at a young age is a major cause of skin cancer.

The dangers of tanning beds is well documented. Indoor tanning may actually be more dangerous than the sun. Check out five fast facts about the dangers of tanning on Health Central.

As summer is around the corner, hanging out at the beach is a popular teen activity. Get sun smart with these helpful tips from Kids Health for Teens:

  • Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 every day, even on cloudy days and when you don't plan on spending much time outdoors. Wearing sunscreen every day is essential because as much as 80% of sun exposure is incidental - the type you get from walking your dog or eating lunch outside. If you don't want to wear a pure sunscreen, try a moisturizer with sunscreen in it, but make sure you put on enough.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Ideally, it should also be hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic so it doesn't cause a rash or clog your pores and give you acne.
  • Apply sunscreen thickly and frequently. If you're not sure you're putting on enough, switch to one with a higher SPF. Regardless of the SPF, always reapply sunscreen after a couple of hours. Most broad-spectrum sunscreens are more effective at blocking UVB rays than UVA rays. So even if you don't get a sunburn, UVA rays could still be doing unseen damage to your skin.
  • Reapply sunscreen every 1½ to 2 hours and after swimming or sweating. In direct sun, wear a sunscreen with a higher SPF, like SPF 30. While playing sports, use sunscreen that's waterproof and sweatproof, but still reapply sunscreen every 1½ to 2 hours.
  • Take frequent breaks. The sun's rays are strongest between 10:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. During those hours, take breaks to cool off indoors or in the shade for a while before heading out again.
  • Wear a hat with a brim and sunglasses that provide almost 100% protection against ultraviolet radiation.
Be an educated parent, you will have healthier and safer teens.

Watch video and read more.