Teens should Tweet this: Tanning is out!May 22nd, 2012 | Posted by in Anti-aging | Cancer | Skin Cancer | Sunscreen | Tanning
Despite all of today’s teens “texting” and tweeting out their latest escapades, there is one message that they don’t seem to be broadcasting. The missed message is that tanning is not what they think it is and can have long-lasting effects on their skin and health. A new survey conducted by American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) revealed that teens, young adults, did not know how to properly protect their skin from the sure nor were they aware of the dangers of tanning beds.
Nearly one-half (45 percent) of young adult respondents agreed with the statement ‘I prefer to enjoy sunshine and not worry about what I should do to protect myself from it.’ compared with one-third of overall respondents.
Nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of young adults were either unaware or unsure that tanning beds are not safer than the sun.
Only 35 percent of young adult respondents 18-29 knew that a base tan is not a healthy way to protect skin from sun damage.
Three in 10 (31 percent) young adults were either unsure or did not know that sun exposure can cause wrinkles.
Board-certified dermatologist Amanda Friedrichs, MD, FAAD, is troubled that today’s teens do not understand the dangers of tanning and long exposure to the sun’s rays. “It’s troubling that so many young adults do not fully understand the consequences of tanning – whether from tanning beds or natural sunlight – particularly in light of the trend of more young people developing skin cancer. Our survey confirmed that age was highly associated with use of tanning beds, as respondents ages 18-29 years old were much more likely as those over age 30 to report using a tanning bed.”
For those desiring a safe sun-kissed, tanned look, Dr. Friedrichs recommends the use of a sunless self-tanner. Although self-tanners in the past have had a reputation for leaving one’s skin orange and blotchy in nature, newer products result in a more effective, natural look. That being said, Dr. Friedrichs offers the following tips to achieve the finest results with a self-tanning product:
- Exfoliate. Prior to applying a self-tanner, use a washcloth to exfoliate the skin. Using an exfoliating product also will help remove the dead skin cells. Spend a little more time exfoliating whether the skin is thickest, such as the ankles, knees and elbows.
- Dry the skin. Drying your skin before you apply a self-tanner helps it go on evenly.
- Apply in sections. Apply the self-tanner in sections, such as the arms, legs and torso. Massage the sunless tanner into the skin with a uniform circular motion. Lightly extend the tanner from the wrists to the hands and from the ankles to the feet, taking care not to treat the entire hands and feet, such as the palms and soles. Wash and dry your hands after applying self-tanner to each body part to avoid tanning your palms.
- Dilute tanner on joints. Dilute the self-tanner on the knees, ankles and elbows since these areas tend to absorb more self-tanner than the rest of the skin. To dilute, lightly rub these areas with a damp towel or apply a lotion.
- Allow time to dry. Wait at least 10 minutes before getting dressed. It is best to wear loose clothing and try to avoid sweating for the next three hours.
Finally, Dr. Friedrichs reminds everybody that although a self-tanning offers a great alternative to indoor tanning salons, one must still be vigilant when outdoors in the sun and remember to apply and re-apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to help prevent skin cancer and early skin aging.