The incidence of melanoma has gone up almost 700 percent in the past fifty years, and more people are dying of it.
Even with these facts and warning about the harmful effects of certain kinds of UV radiation, young women still flock to the beach and the tanning salon to get that summer glow.
The Danger Of The Sun On The Skin
However, one danger of the sun that does seem to be hitting home with teens and other young women is wrinkles.
The aging effect of too much sun is a worry that dermatologists and doctors might be able to use to get people to reduce their exposure.
One reason that wrinkles might be a bigger fear for young women than cancer, despite cancer’s greater danger, is the immediacy of the threat.
Skin cancer often doesn’t manifest until many years down the road, and in the perceived immunity of youth, it can be hard to think that cancer will really affect you.
Wrinkles from sun exposure, however, develop much sooner, and the fear of being unattractive is a much more imminent threat to a teen or twenty-something. Wrinkles first manifest around the eyes, but later spread to other damaged areas on the face.
Whatever the reason for doing so, it’s important for everyone to avoid sun exposure.
If fear of wrinkles is what it takes for young people to reduce their sunbathing, it’s a great start. It would, of course, be better if they could be convinced to do it for the sake of their health.
However, an appeal to vanity is better than nothing to reduce the record melanoma rates. With cancer an ever-increasing danger from sun exposure, it’s important to convince people to change their behavior, for their own sake.
When persuasion based on appearance was used to convince a number of young people to change their sun-worshiping ways, it proved more effective than cancer scares. The incidences of sunblock use went up dramatically, especially sunblock for sensitive skin.
However, it’s a long hard road ahead for people who are trying to safeguard the youthful population from cancer. People with family histories of skin cancer still persist in deliberately tanning, both outside and indoors, increasing their risk of developing the disease later in life.
Some blame celebrities for encouraging a popular tanned look by using spray on tanner and other methods to get the tan without the damage. One approach that has been suggested is trying to convince such celebrities to acknowledge their use of these products, or to appear without a tan.
Young women have long emulated famous stars, and the current crop of girls who want to look like Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan are no exception.
The ‘golden’ look has been in since the 1970s, when the craze of lying out, sometimes with oil on the skin to intensify the effects of the sun, really got started.
However, most of the women who tanned in their youth are seeing the side effects now – in wrinkles, skin damage, and even cancer. With melanoma on the rise, it seems important for light tans, or even pale skin to become a mark of beauty.
By staying in, young people will be able to know that they’ll look younger and be in better health later.