Despite the fact that most people understand that sunscreen is the best way to prevent skin cancer, many still fail to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from the sun. In a recent study conducted by the New Age Skin Research Foundation, young people between the ages of 11 and 18 revealed a number of alarming trends.
More than 68 percent didn’t wear sunglasses on sunny days.
More than 79 percent didn’t wear protective clothing.
More than 78 percent didn’t avoid direct sun exposure or stay in the shade.
More than 43 percent didn’t use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more when at the beach or pool.
“Skin cancer is an insidious disease because it appears years after the damage has been done,” says Joshua Fox, M.D., founder and medical director of Advanced Dermatology, P.C. and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery. “I think that’s part of the reason people have such a hard time understanding why they need to use sunscreen now. They think, ‘Nothing is going to happen to me 20 years from now.’ But the truth is that something can.”
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it is estimated that more than 1 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer and 132,000 new cases of melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the U.S. In fact, melanoma is responsible for approximately 8,500 skin cancer deaths each year.
“When proper sun protective practices are followed consistently, skin cancer can largely be prevented,” says Fox. “We need to change habits and mindsets to help people see the necessity and urgency of protecting themselves against skin cancer.”