An American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) survey has revealed that Generation Z adults lack accurate and adequate knowledge of the cruciality of sun protection.
More than 1,000 US adults aged 18 or older were surveyed to ascertain the level of their understanding regarding sun safety, and many misconceptions emerged among the Gen Z 18-25 age group, which comprised 8% of the sample.
According to the survey, many Gen Z respondents were not aware of the potentially harmful side effects of tanning, with 60% getting a tan in 2021, and 38% believing that tanning is safe as long as burning is prevented.
Furthermore, the survey revealed that 49% of Gen Z participants did not know you can get sunburned on a cloudy day, 37% did not know the sun’s UV rays can penetrate clothing and 23% were unaware that sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours when outside.
The AAD states that spending long amounts of time in the sun can accelerate skin ageing and increase the risk of skin cancer. The Academy recommends seeking shade, especially between the hours of 10am and 2pm, wearing sun-protective clothing such as wide-brimmed hats and applying and reapplying sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.
Associate professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine Dr Brittany Craiglow, who was diagnosed with skin cancer in her mid-20s, said, "If you are in Generation Z and are not protecting yourself from the sun, it’s essential that you start now if you want to reduce premature skin aging and your risk of skin cancer."