If you remember how fresh and resilient your skin was in your youth, it might seem impossible to think that it could have been damaged. However, we’re learning that more teens are showing signs of sun damage at an early age-even if we can’t actually see the effects on their skin yet.
Using UV photography, researchers in Colorado found that middle schoolers who were at greater known risks for the skin cancer melanoma had the greatest amount of sun damage too. These children had light-colored skin, red hair, blue eyes and freckles.
The photography showed patches of pigmentation changes that signify sun damage, and now the researchers say they also can provide an early warning sign of skin cancer risk, as reported in Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
The researchers told HealthDay News they hope the photography will help the younger generation be smarter about sun protection. “This could be a great tool in getting kids to think about sun safety in a more personal way,” they said. And this message couldn’t come soon enough: Earlier this month, Mayo Clinic reported that melanoma cases have increased eight-fold for young women in their 20s and 30s, likely due to tanning booth use.
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