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Beauty, not health gets teens to wear sunscreen

Written by: QMI Agency
Feb. 13, 2014

(yanlev/Fotolia)


If you want teens to wear sunscreen, don't bother telling them it prevents skin cancer. Tell them it keeps their skin from getting wrinkly and old-looking.

A University of Colorado study found teens only protect their skin from UV light after watching PSAs about how the sun affects appearance.

The same teens, when shown a video about the negative health effects of the sun, did not alter their behaviours at all.

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"We see this anecdotally in the clinic. The teens who come in, often it's because their parents are dragging them. A lot have undergone tanning or never wear sunscreen. You can tell that when we talk about the skin cancer risk, it doesn't faze them," dermatologist Dr. April W. Armstrong said in statement.

"If our endgame is to modify their behaviour, we need to tailor our message in the right way and in this case the right way is by highlighting consequences to appearance rather than health."

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