Thursday, June 13, 2013

Teens & the Sun

 I NEED to share about why it is SO IMPORTANT that we in the melanoma community continue to encourage laws are passed preventing teens from using tanning beds. My family thinks I need a new job as a sunscreen police. BUT, let's not lose our heads here!

As an educator, I have studied brain development of teenagers. Teenagers do not have fully developed frontal lobes. This means they are unable to fully understand consequences of their actions. That is why we adults need to limit and prevent teens access to dangerous things, such as alcohol, tobacco, and tanning beds. Teenagers are literally challenged by their lack of brain development. It's just science.

My very own daughter and niece, who watched me almost DIE from "skin cancer" went out on a cloudy day and were horribly sunburned!  Even after a lecture from me, and after being given sunscreen, and told to simply stay out of the sun, they came home from a day on the beach with SUN BURNS.

In Southern California the term "June Gloom" describes the weather in June because of the marine layer that covers the beaches. This foggy and cool weather fools people into thinking they cannot get sunburned. This is FALSE SECURITY. You can still end up looking like Barbie. It is nothing to smile about Barbie!  You are ruining your skin and increasing your risk of cancer with every burn.

For those who think teenagers can decide for themselves, well...not even teens in my own family were able to make smart sun choices. AS the adults, we need to guide teens in safe sun use. I have a picture of my daughter's burn and will post the image at a later date. For now, I want to remind everyone of the how the UV rays hurt us.
Please cover up, even in June Gloom......a sunburn may last longer than you think 
with a diagnosis of melanoma. 

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