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As some of us get ready to take a warm weather break with family during the holidays, now is the perfect time to revisit sun safety and teens.  We hate to break it to you, but the news isn't good.

Despite the amount of information readily available, the number of teens using sunscreen actually dropped by 12% between 2001 and 2011, this according to a recent study published in the "Preventing Chronic Disease" journal.  To add insult to injury, it seems that teens are still using tanning beds, despite 11 states banning their use for those under 18 years old.  Given that skin cancer is largely preventable, it's evident that teens are still not getting the message.

To help reverse this disturbing trend, the Skin Cancer Foundation has started a program through its youth education initiative to stress the importance of sun protection. This free interactive program is available to educators and targets middle and high school students at a crucial time when teens are beginning to make their own decisions regarding lifestyle choices.  These decisions are likely to have long-term effects not only on their health but also on the health care system where costs related to skin cancer treatments have increased 5 times faster than with any other cancers in recent years.

While teens and young adults see being tanned as "healthy" and fashionable, nothing could be further from the truth.  Unfortunately, the exact reasons for the drop in sunscreen use once children hit the teenage years is not clear.  As parents, we can certainly take steps to make it easier for teens to make sunscreen a regular part of their daily routines by:

•Setting a good example and using a [Link Removed] as an alternative to lying in the sun
•Trying different sunscreen products that provide good protection and are suitable for teens' changing skin with a pleasing finish that will encourage them to wear it every day

Give us a call.  With our huge range of sunscreens and [Link Removed] , we'd be happy to discuss what may work best for your teen in what is sure to be an uphill, but ultimately rewarding, battle.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed] 

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