U.S. teens may not get sunscreen message

June 28, 2012 at 12:59 AM
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NEW YORK, June 28 (UPI) -- Although adults may be using sunscreen more often to protect against cancer, teenagers may not be as careful, a U.S. researcher says.

"It only takes one blistering sunburn to increase your risk of skin cancer. Sun exposure plays a significant role in the development of melanoma," Dr. Desiree Ratner, director of dermatologic surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, said in a statement. "Although more adults are using sunscreens during outdoor activities, many are unaware of how important it is to make sure that their children are getting the necessary skin protection."

Teenage girls need to be particularly careful, since melanoma -- a potentially fatal skin cancer -- is the most common cancer in young women ages 25-29. Much of the damage from the sun in these young women already occurred in their teens, Ratner said.

Ratner recommended teens and tweens:

-- Use self-tanning creams instead of tanning beds.

-- Be wary of freckles because they are sign of sustained sun damage.

-- Apply sunscreen generously. Teens should apply sunscreen of SPF 30 to the entire surface of their body about 30 minutes before going outside; if they swimming, they should reapply once they are out of the water.

-- Minimize exposure to the sun. Seek shade, wear hats, sunglasses and use umbrellas when appropriate.

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