Dear 16 Year Old Me: Importance of Skin Cancer Risk Factors and Sun Protection

While the cooler months often leave us dreaming of warmer climates, Dermatology Associates of Atlanta believes that any time is the perfect time to spread awareness about the importance of sun protection. We recently came across a video that has gone viral on YouTube entitled “Dear 16-Year-Old Me” in which skin cancer survivors and family members of skin cancer patients describe the dangers associated with not protecting your skin when you go outdoors.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention people with the following risk factors are more likely to develop skin cancer:

  • A family history of skin cancer
  • Fair skin tone
  • History of using tanning beds
  • History of unprotected sun exposure/sunburns
  • Personal history of skin cancer
  • Repeated exposure to the sun through work or play
  • Blue or green eyes
  • Red or blonde hair
  • Skin that burns, freckles, becomes painful, and reddens easily in the sun
  • Certain types of moles

Studies have shown that a repeated use of tanning beds is proven to drastically increase your risk of developing skin cancer. While tanning in salons can become addictive, recent tanning bed bans have shown that governments are serious about preventing skin cancer in people of all ages. Many young people think that cancer is something that only affects people over 40. However, there’s a reason skin cancer is often called, “the young person’s cancer.” Because many teenagers and young adults do not protect their skin with long clothing and SPF 30 sunscreen, they are the largest-growing age group for skin cancer diagnoses.

Not only does unprotected sun exposure increase one’s risk for potentially deadly skin cancers, but it also slows down the collagen production that keeps skin looking young. According to a study performed by the EPA, of all the changes in skin and appearance commonly attributed to aging, 90% are caused by the sun. Dermatology Associates of Atlanta offers patients wrinkle reduction treatments to fight the signs of aging. However, we stand by the notion that the best treatment is prevention. In order to maintain a youthful complexion, protect yourself from the sun.

Videos like the one above help to bring attention to the importance of skin cancer prevention in patients of all ages. Dermatology Associates of Atlanta offers skin cancer body checks to help patients catch any signs of melanoma or carcinoma early.

For more information on skin cancer prevention or treatment, contact our office. You can also stay up to date on the latest skincare news by following us on Facebook and Twitter.