Study says millennials rather be beautiful than safe from sun

A new study found that millennials are less likely to use sunscreen.

Oregon State University-Cascades surveyed 256 college students, most between 18 and 23 years old, with the participants 47 percent male and 53 percent female. 

The study measured their sun safety knowledge, including questions about their beliefs regarding sunscreen effectiveness and ultraviolet light exposure danger; questions about tanning motivation and behavior; an assessment of tanning addiction; and personality questions relating to self-esteem, narcissism, appearance and addictive behavior.

Students scored an average of 54 percent on an 11-question sun safety test that had questions regarding sunscreen use and differences in SPF concentration. 

According to the study, 70 percent of its participants purposefully exposed their skin to achieve a tan. Researchers then found that those with lower self-esteem and higher narcissism rates were more likely to display "addictive tanning behavior." 

The study is even called "I Know, but I Would Rather Be Beautiful." 

Cases of melanoma, a form of skin cancer, saw an 800 percent increase in women ages 18 and 39 between 1970 and 2009. 

But the problem is not just millennials. About three years ago, an American Academy of Dermatology study found that most Americans don't use sunscreen. Only 14.3 percent of men and 29.9 percent of women reported that they regularly use sunscreen. 

The earlier study also found that most adults didn't know the differences in SPF concentration. 

The American Academy of Dermatology has a list of frequently asked questions when it comes to sunscreen use on its website

Everyone is recommended to use sunscreen that is:

  • Broad spectrum protection (protests against UVA and UVB rays)
  • SPF 30 or higher
  • Water resistant 

Besides sunscreen, everyone is suggested to avoid the sun by doing the following:

  • Seeking the shade when appropriate, especially when the sun's rays are the highest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. 
  • Wear protective clothing
  • Use extra caution near water, snow and sand as they reflect the sun
  • Get Vitamin D safely through diet and supplements
  • Avoid tanning beds
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