Sun Protection Tips For Teens From Our Friends at The Melanoma Foundation of New England

We are so happy to share these wonderful facts and tips for teens. We would like to thank The Melanoma Foundation of New England for contributing to our blog.

Protecting your children against harmful UV rays is a critical step towards teaching them healthy lifestyle behaviors. But what about when kids grow up and become teens? Talking with your teen about UV-safe behavior and protecting their skin is extremely important, but it can be difficult to get the message through as they become adults. Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, is a disease that affects a younger population and we know that getting 5 sunburns or more before the age of 18 increases your melanoma risk by 80 percent.

The Facts:

  • Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer among teens and young adults ages 15-29
  • Melanoma is nearly 100% curable when caught early
  • Using a tanning bed for 20 minutes is equivalent to spending one to three hours a day at the beach with no sun protection at all
  • Tanning beds emit three to six times the amount of radiation given off by the sun
  • Tan skin is damaged skin, there is no such thing as a safe tan

Tips for reaching your Teens:

  • Tell them the facts: People respond to knowledge, and knowledge is power. Arm your teen or young adult with the facts about melanoma and skin cancer so they feel empowered to make the right decisions.
  • Lead by example: Teens are more likely to tan indoors and outdoors if their parents tan. Set the example by wearing sunscreen, avoiding direct sunlight during peek hours and enforcing a no tanning bed rule.
  • Offer them options: There is a lot of pressure to be tan, particularly around life events such as prom and spring break. Talk with your teen about alternatives such as spray tanning, sunless tanning lotions or loving the skin they’re in!
  • Encourage them to participate in Your Skin Is In by the Melanoma Foundation of New England. Your Skin Is In is an educational, pledge based program and contest that encourages teens and young adults to make a personal promise that they will protect the skin they’re in.
  • Take the Your Skin Is In pledge yourself!
  • Find a teachable moment: Prom, spring break and other milestones in a teen’s life can have them discussing hair, nails and makeup. These are moments where you have an opportunity to not only tell them their skin is beautiful, but open up the discussion about tanning and why it’s harmful.
  • Give them visuals: MFNE has produced multiple PSA campaigns to help provide a visual aid when having these discussions. You can view them here:
    • Exposed: Young melanoma survivors share their personal stories.
    • Tanning is Out: A 60 second Public Service Announcement that illustrates the harmful risks of tanning.
    • Meghan’s Story: Interview style video that showcases a young female melanoma survivor.
    • Tim’s Story : Interview style video that showcases a young male melanoma survivor.

For more information on The Melanoma Foundation of New England, visit mfne.org.


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