Three-quarters of younger American teenagers say they don’t make it a habit to use sunscreen and they’re even less likely to take sun-protections as they get older, a new study has found.
Despite public health warnings noting sunburn in childhood significantly raises the risk of developing skin cancer later, just one in four 14-year-olds surveyed in a new poll said they use sunscreen regularly.
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, also found older teens were more likely to say they spend more time in the sun -- and less use of sunscreen -- than when they were young.
In addition, girls and boys alike said they feel they look better with a tan.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, which has attempted to sound the alarm on rising skin cancer cases in the United States in recent years.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, melanoma -- the most dangerous and deadly form of skin cancer – has been on the rise for three decades It is now the most common form of cancer for young adults aged 25 to 29 and is the second most common form of cancer among adolescents and adults aged 15 to 29.
“The team found that more than half (53 percent) of the youngsters had already suffered at least one sunburn by the age of 11,” researchers reported, “and that that rate of sunburn remained constant over the next three years. During that same time period, rates of using sunscreen ‘often or always’ actually dropped.”
The study, led by Dr. Stephen W. Dusza, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, was based on a survey of 360 Massachusetts adolescents.