How Do I Get My Teenager To Wear Sunscreen?
Parents often feel that the frustration involved in trying to get their teenager to wear sunscreen is not worth the argument. So how do we persuade these teenagers who are gradually gaining more independence and control over their lives, that the daily application of sunscreen is of the utmost importance.
Health vs Beauty? - Beauty wins!
Studies from the American Academy of Dermatology have revealed that teenagers are not motivated to apply sunscreen because of any fear of possible skin cancers and melanomas in the distant future. However, appealing to them to apply sunscreen by showing the damage that sun can do to their beauty, has been found to be very effective. The message about exposure to the sun causing wrinkles, brown spots and leathery skin has proved to be a powerful one.
Visuals of sun-damaged skin
Show your teenager visuals of ‘famous’ people they would recognise and admire, who have been quoted as daily sunscreen users, thereby sending the message that it is a ‘cool’ thing to do. Encourage your teenager to look around them and compare the skin of people who have obviously used sun protection to those whose skin has prematurely aged because of exposure to the sun. It makes sense to appeal to the vanity of teenagers, a group for whom having ‘good skin’ is so important and for whom this is so easy to achieve - the daily application of sunscreen and wearing protective clothing.
What to do?
The cancer council of NSW have found that the majority of parents are concerned about the risk of sun exposure to their children. To this end, most provide a sunscreen for the whole family, often pump action and usually family size. Whilst this is to be applauded there is an alternative for your teenager. Provide them with their own special sunscreen, ideally in two tubes, one for home and one for their bag. No one likes spreading thick, greasy cream on their face so find a light, non-greasy cream specifically formulated for the face as opposed to the thicker, greasier creams for use on the rest of their body. Your teenager will love you for it.
…… And keep reminding! DAILY application of sunscreen is a priority. One day your teenager will thank you for your nagging persistence.