For most teenagers, skin cancer awareness is not a priority. But for me, it is a passion.
By Alexis Schweitzer
My motivation is my paternal grandfather, who died at the young age of 43 after battling melanoma. Sadly, I never had the opportunity to meet him. As a Healthy Skin Champion for The Skin Cancer Foundation, my goal is to raise enough awareness and funds to ensure that this very preventable cancer does not take the lives of any more loved ones.
I specifically want to educate teenagers about the dangers of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world, and sun damage is a major cause of the disease. Sun damage often begins when a person is young, and yet, many teenagers are unaware or unconcerned about the detrimental effects the sun has on their skin. However, the good news is that sun damage and skin cancer are very preventable if you are knowledgeable about sun protection.
My goal is to offer up skin cancer prevention information to teens like me and give them safe alternatives to achieve that sun-kissed glow.
The Dangers of Tanning
As a teenager myself, I know that looking tan can be very important. But I also know how dangerous tanning can be. Many teenagers lay out in the sun for hours or go to tanning salons because they are determined to get a tan, unaware of how much harm they are doing to their skin. They don’t realize that women who have ever been indoor tanning are six times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma in their 20s.
I feel it’s my job to spread awareness about tanning, because this behavior could potentially end their lives. Is a tan really worth dying for? No it is not.
Complete Sun Protection
Perhaps the most important role in preventing skin cancer is protecting your skin. Of course, staying out of the sun is the best option but that is not always doable, especially for a teen!
The experts at The Skin Cancer Foundation explain that the best sunscreen is the one that you will use. Of course, I have my favorites.
Many sunscreens are formulated to work with specific skin types. There are a variety of brands that won’t leave that pasty white residue that nobody likes, and some that won’t clog the pores of acne prone skin. The key is to find the one that is right for you. You can find broad-spectrum sunscreens and other skincare products that have earned the Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation for safe, effective sun protection on their website.
The other thing to remember is that sunscreen not only prevents skin cancer, but it also helps protect your skin from sun damage that causes wrinkles and dark spots. That’s why the best time to start protecting your skin is now.