As Memorial Day signals the unofficial start of summer, many teen girls will be eager to get out of school and spend time outside -; and some may want to get a tan. But a new public service advertisement from the American Academy of Dermatology encourages those who are thinking of tanning to think again.
Released in conjunction with Skin Cancer Awareness Month in May, the new AAD PSA “Protect Yourselfie” uses social media imagery to remind teenage girls that tanning could lead to skin cancer and premature aging, and encourages them to protect their skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. Melanoma is the second most common cancer in young women ages 15-29, and research suggests that the majority of melanoma cases are attributable to UV exposure from the sun and indoor tanning beds.
“We hope this PSA reminds young women that tanning is dangerous -; and potentially deadly,” says board-certified dermatologist Suzanne M. Olbricht, MD, FAAD, president of the AAD. “Every time you tan, including trying to get a base tan, you increase your risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma, which kills one person every hour. On top of that, UV rays can make your skin age prematurely, leading to wrinkles and age spots. Don’t try to change your skin by tanning; keep it safe by protecting yourself from harmful UV exposure.”
During Skin Cancer Awareness Month, the AAD is recognizing “Skin Cancer Heroes” -; patients and survivors, the friends and loved ones who have helped and supported them, and the board-certified dermatologists who have detected and treated their skin cancer. The AAD encourages everyone, including young women, to be their own Skin Cancer Heroes by taking steps to prevent skin cancer: staying out of indoor tanning beds, and protecting themselves from the sun by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.