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Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection

Young women are especially likely to develop skin cancer, experts say

SUNDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- With summer fast approaching, it's time to remind teens about the importance of sun protection, dermatologists say.

"Even one blistering sunburn can increase your risk of skin cancer. As few as five sunburns can double your risk of skin cancer," Dr. Anjali Dahiya, a dermatologist at the Iris Cantor Women's Health Center at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, said in a news release.

Teenage girls need to be especially vigilant about sun protection. The potentially fatal skin cancer melanoma is the most common cancer in young women aged 25 to 29. Much of the sun-related skin damage in these young women occurred in their teens.

"Sun exposure plays a significant role in the development of melanoma. Although more adults are using sunscreens during outdoor activities, many are unaware of how important it is to make sure that their children are getting the necessary skin protection," Dr. Desiree Ratner, director of dermatologic surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, said in the news release.

The doctors offered the following skin protection tips for teens and "tweens":

  • Apply sunscreen to the entire surface of your body about 30 minutes before going outside. If you're swimming, reapply sunscreen once you're out of the water. Use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and be sure it has both UVA and UVB blocking ingredients.
  • Limit your sun exposure. In addition to using sunscreen, use hats, sunglasses and umbrellas.
  • Never use tanning beds -- try self-tanning creams for a safer summer glow.
  • Watch for freckles, which may be a sign of sustained sun damage.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about sun safety.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, news release, April 12, 2010

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