The Truth Behind Gen Z’s Sunscreen Misconceptions

The Truth Behind Gen Z's Sunscreen Misconceptions
The Truth Behind Gen Z's Sunscreen Misconceptions. Credit | Getty images

United States: Young individuals appear to be neglecting sun safety, according to two recent surveys, which is concerning and almost 28 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 26 who participated in an online poll conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology and published this month stated they didn’t think sunburns caused skin cancer. Furthermore, 37% admitted that they only wore sunscreen in response to nagging from others.

Young Adults’ Awareness Gaps

According to a different Orlando Health Cancer Institute survey released this month, 14% of adults under 35 thought that daily use of sunscreen was more dangerous than exposure to the sun. Physicians noted that they have anecdotally observed similar knowledge gaps and riskier actions among their younger patients, even if the surveys are too small to fully capture the activities of all young individuals.

Experts noted that this problem isn’t exclusive to the present generation of young adults. Young people are just young people, according to dermatologist Dr. Melissa Shive of UCI Health in Irvine, California. According to a poll done between 1986 and 1996, middle-aged people (18 to 24 years old) were more likely than older adults to visit tanning salons.

Young Adults Misconceive Sun Damage

According to Dr. Shive, young adults frequently don’t know how to prevent sun damage or even what it looks like. Recently, she noted, she had a young patient who was unaware that freckles and tanned skin were indicators of solar damage. A growing number of Dr. Heather Rogers’s teenage patients now report using tanning beds, according to the University of Washington’s clinical assistant professor of dermatology. Both tanning beds and the sun’s rays can cause skin damage and the potentially fatal condition known as skin cancer.

The older persons who took part in the current studies also lacked perfect understanding about sun safety: For example, 17% of millennials polled by A.A.D. were unaware that tanning causes skin cancer. However, younger adults—the majority of whom belong to Generation Z, defined as those born after 1997—were generally more prone to report believing falsehoods about sun safety.

Falsehoods Amplify Sun Safety Risks

Visual Representation. Credit | Getty images

According to experts, Gen Z is particularly vulnerable to false information that has spread on social media sites like TikTok regarding sunscreen and skin cancer. They cited social media messages made by celebrities or influencers who falsely assert that sunscreen can cause cancer or that it prevents people from absorbing vitamin D. (Since sunscreen has been shown to be beneficial in preventing skin cancer for years, Dr. Shive said.

The chair of the dermatology department at Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Ida Orengo, stated, “The problem with social media is that nobody’s fact-checking what’s out there.”

She stated, “It can help spread knowledge about preventing skin cancer, but it can also have the opposite effect and exacerbate the situation.”

According to almost 25% of respondents under 35 in the Orlando Health survey, drinking plenty of water helps avoid sunburn. (There isn’t any proof that it can.) Despite the fact that any tan destroys skin cells, more than 25% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 26 in the A.A.D. poll thought that acquiring a base tan could prevent skin cancer, according to Dr. Rogers.

How should young people protect their skin?

Visual Representation. Credit | Getty images

Dr. Shive stated that the majority of sun safety advice is the same for individuals of all ages. Furthermore, the suggestion is applicable to all skin types, according to Dr. Meredithe McNamara, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine who specializes in adolescent medicine.

Guarding the Young Skin from Sun Damage

Put on sun-defensive vesture and According to Dr. Shive, wearing long sleeves and pants can help cover your skin, particularly if the accoutrements are rated for ultraviolet protection, or UPF. headdresses with broad brims are also a smart choice.

Use plenitude of sunscreen and reapply it as demanded. Indeed in heavy or cool rainfall, UV radiation can still harm skin, thus experts advise using sunscreen daily. According to Dr. Rogers, the optimum sunscreen has a minimal SPF of 30 and is appertained to as” broad diapason.” This indicates that it blocks UVA and UVB ultraviolet radiation.

Every morning before you leave the house, put on some sunscreen. Dr. Shive advised reapplying it every two hours if you are outdoors, or more constantly if you are perspiring or swimming.