Your Teenager's (Probably) Been Out in the Sun Too Long, Study Shows

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals: Tweens, Research Reveals: Teens

teen sunbathing

Survey shows British teens are ignorant about sun safety. Credit: Corbis

"That kid has been out in the sun too long."

You probably thought that about your teenage son or daughter before, but now there is science to back you up.

Researchers found that even teenagers in Great Britain, not generally known for their California tans, stay out in the sun 12 times longer than the recommended limit without using sunscreen.

Britain's Teenage Cancer Trust surveyed kids as part of its annual sun safety campaign, The London Daily Mail reports. The survey reveals that British teens spend up to two hours tanning without protection. But, it is recommended not to go over 15 minutes without sunscreen.

The survey included 600 young people ages 13 to 24 and found that more than a third of them don't wear sunscreen, and 1 in 10 thought fake tans caused cancer. The Daily Mail reports that more than half do not know how to apply sunscreen correctly. (They rub it in completely when it should be patted gently on to the skin, leaving a visible film.)

"It's the sun damage done to skin when young that can lead to skin cancer in later life, which is why these findings are incredibly worrying," Simon Davies, the chief executive of the Teenage Cancer Trust, tells the Daily Mail. "We all love the sun but we have to respect our skin."

Sally Davies, the chief medical officer at the Department of Health, also finds the survey troubling. "It is disappointing that some teenagers are still unaware of the health risks and dangers from the use of sunbeds and excessive exposure to the sun," she tells the Daily Mail.

"Overexposure to UV radiation can cause damage to your skin and increase your risk of getting skin cancer, one of the most common cancers in the UK."

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.