Young people still ignoring skin cancer warnings

skin cancer warning

Many young people are still getting sunburnt and not applying sunscreen properly.

Health warnings about the risks of sun damage don’t seem to be getting through to young adults, according to a recent survey. The report, released by the U.S government revealed that over half of under 30 year olds have had sunburn at least once in the past year.

The results are now roughly the same as a decade ago, despite repeated campaigns to warn against the dangers of sunburn. The survey also found women in their 20s are visiting tanning salons twice a month on average.

A report released five years ago showed an improvement in the number of people who had experienced sunburn. It seems, looking at the report released this week, that any positive progress has been wiped out.

“I don’t know that we’re making any headway,” said Dr Len Lichtenfeld, the American Cancer Society’s deputy chief medical officer.

Experts say even one blistering sunburn can double your risk of developing melanoma, one of the most serious forms of skin cancer. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than one-third of those surveyed said they use sunscreen when they are out in the sun – a modest increase from 2005. But some experts said the increasing rate of sunburns suggests many people are not putting on enough sunscreen or are not re-applying it adequately.

How to apply sunscreen correctly

Many expats move abroad to enjoy a better climate and many of the top expat destinations are renowned for their beaches (Thailand, Australia, Spain, Costa Rica…). Make sure to follow these steps on how to apply sunscreen effectively:

  1. Shake the bottle – shake the bottle well before applying to ensure all the ingredients are mixed evenly.
  2. Apply 30 minutes beforehand – Apply sunscreen at least half an hour before you go outside to allow the particles to be absorbed into your skin.
  3. Use enough – Adults should use around a shot glass sized amount of sunscreen (1oz), if in doubt more is better than not enough.
  4. Ask a friend – Ask someone else to help you apply sunscreen to the hard to reach areas. Remember the backs of your legs, ears and back.
  5. Reapply – Some studies suggest you should reapply 30 minutes after going into the sun in case you missed any spots the first time. You should also always reapply your sunscreen after swimming, toweling off or sweating heavily.

Remember, insect repellants can reduce the SPF of your sunscreen by upto one third. So if you are using repellent and sunscreen together make sure to use a higher SPF than usual.