Skin cancer is considered the most common cancer in the United States, but a survey reveals most kids aren’t protecting themselves against it.
Experts say sun protection is the most effective way to prevent new cancer cases but according to a survey conducted among youth, less than one-third of youth between 11 and 18 years old regularly use it.
“I think that even though they understand the importance, that they can’t take in exactly what that means for their health and part of it is, a lot of what we discuss is; why it’s important is about their health in the future, not at the moment,” explained Dr. Joan Tamburro, a pediatric dermatologist for Cleveland Clinic Children’s.
Tamburro said the survey offered some interesting insights into how youth view sun protection.
For example, a majority polled believe it is important to protect their skin from the sun and say they use sunscreen – but many still reported getting one or more sunburns. Tamburro said that’s likely due to them not properly applying sunscreen in the first place or not regularly reapplying it while out in the sun.
To increase the use of sun protection among youth, those polled made a couple of suggestions, like demonstrating the consequences of sun exposure and increasing product accessibility.
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“I think it was a very good point and as we look at some other countries, they do better even at the accessibility of sunscreen at public pools or public locations,” she said. “When we talk about the dollars spent per year in this country on skin cancer, you know is it worth us all to say let’s put money toward that and have it in locations where they can easily access it.”
Tamburro recommends parents show their kids how to apply sunscreen at an early age, so they continue those habits when they get older.
News4Jax tested out something you might have seen on social media. It’s called SPOT MYUV. They’re small purple UV detection stickers that claim to remind people when it’s time to reapply sunscreen.
The sticker is purple when first applied and turns clear once sunscreen is sprayed onto the skin. One sticker is said to last all day. When the sticker turns purple again that is the indicator you need to reapply sunscreen.
Intern Ashley Weinstein tested several golfers to see how it worked. Each had a different experience with the UV detection stickers. One of the golfers did not get to finish his round of golf because the sticker fell off.
“Unfortunately, I am a pretty sweaty guy,” Cavender said, “So, mine fell off. It stayed on for about 30-minutes.”
A game of golf can run over four hours and Jake Cavender’s did not last an hour.
However, most of the golfers had a different experience with the sunscreen indicator patches.
“Yeah so it lasted 2 and a half hours almost three, it just started to rain, but I think my skin was good today,” Neal Hardie, News4JAX insider golfer, said.
The sticker is smaller than a penny in diameter and is light to the touch when placed on the skin.
“It’s been there a while,” George Lee, News4JAX insider golfer said. “I don’t even notice it either.”
News4Jax reached out to Kay Sylvain, licensed esthetician and founder of Skin Craze to see her opinion on the patches.
Sylvain was not sold on the idea of having a reminder for sunscreen, but she did not waver in the importance to reapply.
“Applying sunscreen is important because it actually protects our skin against diseases such as skin cancer,” Sylvain said, “It also prevents things like premature aging, fine lines, wrinkles, complexion issues.”
However, she is hesitant to promote a product that serves as a reminder to reapply sunscreen throughout the day.
“I don’t think you need a reminder because it’s a step that you should be doing anyway, every single day. Just consider it like a lifestyle. So, you should be wearing sunscreen every day regardless,” Sylvain said.
SPOT MYUV patches run anywhere from 72 cents to one dollar a piece depending on how many you purchase. For more information go to the website.