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Gen Z, Millennials’ Skin Cancer Risk Increasing With Social Media Tanning Myths

More than 30% of young adults think a tan makes you look better and healthier.

05.09.24
Gen Z, Millennials’ Skin Cancer Risk Increasing With Social Media Tanning Myths (Getty Images)

Young adults are putting themselves at risk of potentially deadly skin cancer by believing "dangerous" myths about sun protection, warns new research.

One in 3 adults (32%) agrees that a tan makes people look better and healthier, which health experts say can lead to "risky" behavior when it comes to sun exposure.

Researchers also found that almost a quarter of adults (23%) believe drinking water and staying hydrated prevents sunburn.

And one in seven adults under 35 (14%) actually believe daily sunscreen use is more harmful to the skin than direct sun exposure.

The survey of more than 1,000 American adults was conducted by the Orlando Health Cancer Institute.

Dr. Rajesh Nair, an oncology surgeon at the Orlando Health Cancer Institute, said: “There is no such thing as a healthy tan, as it’s really just a visual manifestation of damage to the skin.

“But we’re fighting against a perceived positive image and health benefits of something that actually has a totally opposite reality, which is that suntanned skin represents an increased risk of a deadly disease.”

He continued: “There is no scientific data suggesting that drinking water provides any protection from the sun.

“As for sunscreens, the protective benefits far outweigh any known risks, but if you’re concerned about chemicals or ingredients in a sunscreen, mineral sunscreens like zinc oxide that offer a physical barrier to the sun are proven to be safe, as well as clothing with SPF protection.”

Dr. Nair says that with so many sources of information - and misinformation - online, it’s difficult to decipher good advice from the bad.

Experts recommend using sunscreens with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and reapplying it every two hours, especially if you are sweating or are in water.

They say regular skin cancer screenings with a dermatologist or GP are also "critical" to catch any developing skin cancer early.

Originally published by Talker News

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