My Skin Centre

Teens and Tanning

Melanoma is a serious type of skin cancer which can be deadly if left untreated. Australian youth are at a high risk of developing the disease as they can be complacent about sun protection. The idea of a tan being healthy and more attractive is still in the minds of many people, despite education campaigns and solariums being banned in almost every state.

95% of melanoma in Australia is caused by UV rays, but the “slip, slop, slap, seek, and slide message may not be reaching our teens. 

What the Research Shows

The Cancer Council of Australia have undertaken research to determine how teens feel about tanning. A massive 62% of teenagers in the study said their friends thought a tan was a good thing. 

38% of those surveyed said they liked to tan, and 43% of those were female. Tanning is your body’s defence against the sun, and is a sign of damage and not of health.

Campaigns Targeting Teens

Sunsmart has an ongoing “The Dark Side of Tanning” campaign which targets younger Australians. The aim is to educate our youth about the dangers of a tan, and to celebrate their natural skin tone instead. 

This is supported by TV advertisements which discuss melanoma and how quickly it can spread. The damage can be done even without visible sunburn, and melanoma affects all Australians either directly, or indirectly. Wes Bonny features in the campaign, as a young 26 year old male who died in 2010 from melanoma. 

Clare Oliver was another 26 year old victim of this skin cancer, and her heartbreaking story ended when she lost her life in 2007. She blamed solarium usage as the key cause. Her foundation continues to spread the message of UV protection. It only takes 1mm for a melanoma to make its way into the bloodstream, making it a fast growing and potentially lethal skin cancer. 

Supporting Teens to be Sun Smart

When found early, melanoma can be removed. However, it could still lead to the formation of other cancers so prevention is the best defence. Supporting teens and young adults with information may just help to save a life. Parents and friends can lead by example and offer encouragement for wearing long clothing, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Sunscreen on it’s own might not always be enough to protect the skin in our harsh Australian climate, and should be used in conjunction with other measures. If you are concerned about Vitamin D, remember only a small amount of sunlight is required to meet your daily requirements.

If  tanned skin is still a priority, there are other ways to get the look without putting your health at risk. Fake tan, and bronzer are safe ways to get darker skin, and there is an option for every application preference. 

Sunburn is no longer an Australian norm, as we learn more about the effects of harmful UV rays. If you are concerned about skin damage to yourself or someone you care about, we have clinics located throughout the Perth region. Please contact us today to book an appointment.