How can you explain the harm of sun exposure to your teen?

So much has been said about the dangers of sun exposure. Adults, children and teens all know that tanning is harmful, but teens are obsessed about tanning so they tune the information out. Teens should know from an early age that there may be a heavy, even life-threatening price to pay for long-term irresponsible sun exposure, and the rules for playing it safe are very clear.

Most people, especially teens, think they look better with a tan. Teens spend their summers at the pool or beach without thinking twice about how it is affecting their skin, and how deadly the sun's rays can be. Teens need to be told the facts in the most direct way; those ultraviolet rays that make you tan actually penetrate deep into the skin, causing damage that can ultimately cause cancer. Melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, is on the rise in frightening numbers in teens. If left undiagnosed and untreated, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body.

Tell your teen to look at the complexion of adults, and compare. Many of today's adults spent lots of time in the sun, and the results are obvious: Sun exposure causes skin-aging that is irreversible. Basic safety tips are easy to follow, and you should tell your teen to avoid spending time in the sun, especially at the most dangerous peak hours when UV radiation is at its most intense. Encourage your teen to develop a lifelong habit of protection from the sun that includes hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. An important message to get across is that tanning is temporary, but the consequences are permanent.




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