Ah… prom time. I can remember the excitement and all the planning for my own senior prom. As a mother of 2 boys, I don’t get to participate in discussions of colours and hairstyles, but luckily at this time of year, I only have to eavesdrop on giddy chatter in the malls and remember my own experience. Especially for girls, the prom can be one of life’s great adventures. A fairytale of glamour! From head to toe every detail is imagined to create her personal vision of loveliness. Some may even consider seeking what they believe to be the finishing touch; a tan, which for 21 % of grade 12 girls means a trip to a tanning bed to get that so-called “healthy glow”. Hold that thought…
The vision of what looks healthy should be re-evaluated by all, especially for those who have light skin colour, hair and eyes.
Plain and simple, tanned skin is damaged skin. When the tan fades, the damage is still there. What you and your teen should know is that tanning beds according to the World Health Organization, cause one of the most common forms of cancer; skin cancer.
It is an unfortunate fact that although preventable, melanoma is one of the most deadly forms of skin cancer in young people between the ages of 15 and 29. Additional research done by the International Agency for Research on Cancer shows that being exposed to indoor tanning equipment Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) before the age of 35 increases the risk for melanoma by 75%.
Provincial legislation to help protect our youth from accessing tanning beds is being considered but not soon enough to protect our teens for this prom and summer season. As a parent you can play a role in your teen’s desire for tanned skin.
- Discuss the risks, and how to protect their skin from being over exposed to UVR. The “Dear 16 year old Me” video that went viral last year really helps to raise awareness in a meaningful way about the cost of intentional youth tanning.
- Support them with messaging to “go with their own glow”.
- Choose not to be part of the 52% of parents who pay for their teen’s tanning bed use as revealed in a recent Ipsos Reid poll.
Your support in your teen vision of beauty is important in reducing their risks of UVR harm and to avoid seeking a “Killer Tan” for prom as this fun video shares. Even for just one event, is the risk worth it?
Share your experience:
For more tips and hints about sun safety, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:
- Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
- Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
- Email us at email@example.com
- Dial 311 or 905-825-6000 for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
About this guest blogger:
Sonya Muntwyler RN, BSc., BSc N is a Public Health Nurse working in Chronic Disease Prevention whose main focuses are cancer prevention/screening and UVR protection. As a mother of 2 sons ages 17 and 14 , graduating from grade 12 and grade 8 this June, and who both spend many hours in the summer sun at camp, Sonya is passionate about educating youth about this preventable cancer and the promotion that “tanning is out”.