Find A Physician

Return to Sunscreen Use, Teen Safety Among Summer Health Concerns Overview

More on Sunscreen Use, Teen Safety Among Summer Health Concerns


Return to Sunscreen Use, Teen Safety Among Summer Health Concerns Overview

More on Sunscreen Use, Teen Safety Among Summer Health Concerns

Research and Clinical Trials

Return to Sunscreen Use, Teen Safety Among Summer Health Concerns Overview

More on Sunscreen Use, Teen Safety Among Summer Health Concerns

Clinical Services

Return to Sunscreen Use, Teen Safety Among Summer Health Concerns Overview

More on Sunscreen Use, Teen Safety Among Summer Health Concerns

Sunscreen Use, Teen Safety Among Summer Health Concerns

Breaking News - May 2006 - Week 5

(May 31, 2006)

Healthcare in  the News

-- School is out, the first day of summer is right around the corner, and summer activities are being planned. But along with the fun and sun comes caution from new information about summer health issues.

Picture of an older man jogging on the beach

A new study about sunscreen promotion and a new survey on teen safety offer advice on making summer safer for all.

Sunscreen Message Not Reaching Men

American males are not getting or heeding warnings on sun protection, researchers report. Most magazine ads for sunscreen were foundin publications aimed at women, not men, according to a new study.

The USstudy reported in the American Journal of Health Promotion shows that 77 percent of the 783 sunscreen ads reviewed were published in women's magazines.

Researchers reviewed 579 magazines - all May to September issues from 1997 to 2002 for 24 different publications.

While the average was about four ads for sunscreen per women's magazine, the average was less than one in each issue of parenting and family magazines. The average in outdoor and recreation magazines typically read by men was less than one per six issues.

"There's a huge opportunity to reach an untapped market," says Alan Geller, RN, MPH, an associate professor of research with the Boston University School of Medicine.

The ads should also better explain how to properly use sunscreen and other sun-care products, he says, as none of the ads contained the recommended guidelines for appropriate use of sunscreen.

"We know that men know much less about sun protection than women," Geller says, adding that "research has shown us that many, many people use sun protection products and still get burned." These advertisements provide a good opportunity to educate people on how to use sunscreen properly, he adds.

"With my contacts, I've argued that advertising and communications should go on in boating, tennis and golf magazines," says Dr. David J. Leffell, a professor of dermatology and surgery at the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Leffell was not involved in the study,but is a consultant for a large US manufacturer of sun-care products.

The results of the study show a need for working relationships between product marketing departments and advocates for skin cancer prevention, as well as more ads geared toward "potentially higher-risk groups such as children, men and outdoor recreation users," says Geller.

Parents Concerned About Teens' Health

As schools break for summer, most teens look forward to staying up late, sleeping in, and having their first jobs, while their parents may worry about common summer health risks.

A new survey from the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) found that about 25 percent of parents of young teens were very or extremely concerned about their young teen's health during summer.

Heat exhaustion was listed as the top concern by 35 percent of parents, and 75 percent said they would insist that their young teens wear sunscreen.

Nearly 30 percent of parents said they believed it was very or extremely important to take their adolescent to the doctor for a summer health visit, and almost two out of three parents believed it was extremely important to get young teens vaccinated against infectious diseases.

Ninety-two percent of parents planned to maintain open communications with their children to ensure they have a safe summer, and 41 percent said they were very or extremely concerned about their teens making proper decisions in unsafe situations.

One-third of parents said it was important for their young teens to have a summer job to learn work ethic and responsibility. The survey also found that 95 percent of parents wanted their young teens to be active and fit, and 81 percent planned to provide their young teen with healthy food choices this summer.

To help parents keep their young teens happy, healthy, and active over the summer, the National PTA launched a campaign called "Summer Break - What's at Stake?" It provides parents and caregivers with information about how to keep young teens healthy this summer.

"It's clear from the survey results that parents are aware that certain health and lifestyle risks may pose a threat to their young teens. We encourage parents across the nation to take an active role in preparing their children for the great summer they deserve," says Anna Weselak, president of the National PTA.

Tips from theNational PTA to help ensure a happy and healthy summer break for kids include:

  • Limit sun exposure when possible, particularly during peak hours of 10 AM to 4 PM.
  • Provide a portable, durable water bottle or sports beverage. Remind your young teen to drink before feeling thirsty and throughout the day.
  • Set reasonable rules and guidelines for computer use and Internet safety. Remember to monitor your child's compliance with these rules, especially when it comes to the amount of time your child spends on the computer.
  • Help your child choose an activity - any activity - such as walking, basketball, or bike riding, and encourage one hour of exercise per day.
  • Visit your young teen's job site and ensure that it complies with OSHA regulations for a safe working environment.
  • Make sure that your child has safe transportation to work, day camp, or other summer activities.
  • Remind your young teen never to give out personal information or photographs to a stranger in-person or on the Internet.
  • Encourage your child to talk openly with you about his or her daily experiences and come to you with any communications or situations that make them feel scared or uncomfortable.

Always consult your physician for more information.

For more information on health and wellness, please visit health information modules on this Web site.

More About Sunscreens

Sunscreens protect the skin against sunburns. Sunscreens also play an important role in blocking the penetration of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which damages the skin and can lead to skin cancer. However, no sunscreen blocks UV radiation 100 percent.

Sunscreen Vs. Sunblock

The terminology used on sunscreen labels can be confusing. The protection provided by a sunscreen is indicated by the sun protection factor (SPF) listed on the product label. A sunblock is considered to be any sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more. In theory, sunscreens protect an individual during an incident of ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation exposure according to the following:

  • SPF 15 sunscreen may absorb more than 92 percent of UVB radiation.
  • SPF 30 sunscreen may absorb 97 percent of UVB radiation.

How to Use Sunscreens

A sunscreen protects from sunburn and minimizes suntan by reflecting UV rays. Using sunscreens correctly is important in protecting the skin. Consider the following:

  • Use of a sunscreen with SPF of 20 to 30 offers substantial protection against sunburns, and usually prevents tanning.
  • Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that filters out ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB).
  • Most oil-typesunscreens provide an SPF under 4 and offer the least protection. If you rarely burn and always tan, this level of skin protection may be sufficient to help prevent burning and uneven coloration. However, theAmerican Melanoma Foundation recommends a minimum SPF of 15 for all skin types.
  • Sunscreens with high SPF sunscreens protect from burning for longer periods of time than do sunscreens with lower SPFs.
  • Apply sunscreens to all exposed areas of skin, including those easily overlooked areas such as the rims of the ears, lips, back of the neck, and feet.
  • Sunscreens are recommended for everyone (over 6 months of age), regardless of skin or complexion type, because all skin types need protection from solar UV rays. Lighter skin types are at the greatest risk of developing skin cancer; but all people are at some risk. Research has shown that UVA rays may contribute to premature aging and skin cancer.
  • Apply sunscreen liberally. The recommended dose is one ounce per application. Reapply every two hours, after being in the water, or after exercising or sweating. Incidental time in the sun could add up to a sunburn. Do not forget the time spent walking your dog, window shopping, or jogging on your lunch hour.
  • Do not forget the sunscreen when performing outdoor chores.

Always consult your physician for more information.

  • Bookmark
  • Print

    Find a Doctor

Click the button above or call
1 877 NYP WELL


Top of page