Two studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute show that young adults are increasing their risk for developing skin cancer.
One of the studies found that half of people from the ages of 18 to 29 got at least one sunburn in the previous year, according to a CDC news release. Another report revealed that many young adults still use tanning beds. The practice is particularly common with young white women.
“More public health efforts, including providing shade and sunscreen in recreational settings, are needed to raise awareness of the importance of sun protection and sunburn prevention to reduce the burden of skin cancer,” said Dr. Marcus Plescia, director of the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control in the release. “We must accelerate our efforts to educate young adults about the dangers of indoor tanning to prevent melanoma as this generation ages.”
Studies have shown that indoor tanning before the age of 35 increases a person’s risk of getting melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 75 percent. Exposing your skin to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation or using indoor tanning equipment is “the most important preventable risk factor for skin cancer,” the news release states.
To protect themselves from ultraviolet light exposure, people should follow these federal health guidelines:
- Seek shade, especially during midday hours (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
- Wear clothing to protect exposed skin.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat to shade the face, head, ears, and neck.
- Wear wrap-around sunglasses that block as close to 100 percent of ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays as possible. Sunglasses safeguard your eyes from UVA and UVB rays, protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure, and reduce the risk of cataracts and ocular melanoma.
- Use sunscreen with sun protective factor 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection.
- Avoid indoor tanning.
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