Young people * Healthy living

Teens burn on purpose for tan

sunburnt teenagers More than a third don't use suncream

Over a quarter (26%) of young people will get sun burnt on purpose this summer because they think it will turn into a tan later, according to research released by the Teenage Cancer Trust.

In addition to this, almost a third (31%) of young people aged 13-19 said they never use sun cream in the UK, whilst over half (55%) think the sun is less harmful in the UK compared to abroad.

The research, which investigated attitudes to sun safety in teenagers, also found that 22 per cent of teenagers have fallen asleep in the sun and been badly burnt. And seventy four per cent thought they could not be burnt on cloudy days.

The charity released the findings to mark the launch of their sun safety campaign, Shunburn which is aiming to raises awareness of of skin cancer in teenagers and young adults.

In the UK, malignant melanoma rates have more than quadrupled over the last thirty years, and it is now the second most common cancer in young adults between the ages of 15 and 34.

When it comes to the parts of the body most at risk from sunburn, the charity discovered that nearly half (47%) of teenagers burn their shoulders most frequently, with arms and nose in second place.

Simon Davies, Chief Executive of the Teenage Cancer Trust said: “We’ve found that young people display a worrying lack of awareness when it comes to protecting their skin from the sun.

"We are trying to educate them to prevent the over exposure to sun whilst young which can lead to problems with skin cancer later in life. If we can stop just one young person from developing skin cancer when they are older then this year’s Shunburn campaign will have been worth it.”

This article was published on Mon 5 July 2010

Image © Dmitrijs Dmitrijevs -

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