A recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) reveals that many Generation Z adults of between 18 and 25 do not know about the dangers of overexposure to the sun.
In addition, these adults believe tanning myths, such as that tanning is healthy, and that a base tan will prevent sunburn.
The study, which was done in recognition of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, surveyed more than 1,000 adults in the country. The AAD encourages everyone to practice safe sun habits to protect themselves from harmful rays and reduce their risks of developing skin cancer.
According to the survey, 71% of Gen Z adults are unfamiliar with the risks associated with sunburn, with 40% being unaware of tanning risks and 59% believing tanning myths.
Although tanning is a risk factor for skin cancer, 20% of Gen Z adults say that getting a tan is more important to them than preventing skin cancer. In fact, 30% said that it is worth looking great now even if it means looking worse later in life.
Board-certified dermatologist Jennifer Holman MD, FAAD, who is in private practice in Tyler, Texas, knows the dangers of these tanning myths all too well. Dr Holman regularly used indoor tanning salons throughout college and was stunned to learn that she had developed melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, in her early 20s.
Dr Holman tells her patients that getting one blistering sunburn when they're young nearly doubles their risk of getting melanoma, and one tanning session alone can increase the chances of developing melanoma by 75% before the age of 35.
"One of the biggest mistakes that many of my patients make regarding sun protection is not reapplying their sunscreen properly," Dr Holman states. "I remind them that sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, especially if they're in the water."