Browse all

Is Gen Z no longer using sunscreen?

Fake news and suncare skepticism put our health at risk

Is Gen Z no longer using sunscreen? Fake news and suncare skepticism put our health at risk

Sunscreen? It's unnecessary. In fact, it's harmful. Worse, it's a trap invented by pharmaceutical corporations to get rich. This is what more and more people seem to think, at least scrolling through TikTok, where Suncare Skepticism is rampant, fueled by fake news and videos from so-called experts mocking the use of SPF. The transition from virtual to real life is quick. Thus, Gen Z is slowly abandoning the use of sunscreen, undoing years of discussions on the correct use of sunscreen to prevent sunburns, skin aging, and some forms of cancer.

The use of sunscreen, the data

Confirming that applying SPF is now optional, especially in the United States, are the data. According to an online survey of over 1,000 people published by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), 28% of young people aged 18 to 26 believe there is no link between excessive sun exposure and skin cancer, and 52% are unaware of the serious risks of sunburns. This mix of ignorance and skepticism, leading to an underestimation of the risks of direct sun exposure, translates into potentially dangerous behaviors. 37% of Gen Z admits to using sunscreen only when prompted by someone else. It's no surprise, then, that 58% of respondents reported getting sunburned in 2023. The even more disturbing figure is that 28% believe that tanning is more important than preventing skin cancer. This belief is also shared by a recent survey published by the Orlando Health Cancer Institute: 14% of Americans under 35 believe that wearing sunscreen every day is potentially more dangerous than getting sunburned. Too bad that, in reality, getting sunburned is not cool at all.

@dermangelo @Kristin Cavallari DO BETTER! #dermreacts #skincare #dermatologist #sunscreen #skintok #spf #science #dermangelo original sound - Dr. Angelo - DermAngelo

Why Gen Z doesn't believe in sunscreen?

The origins of skepticism towards SPF are tied to the States, where sunscreens are classified as drugs and not as cosmetics, as in Europe. The marketing of new products is therefore subject to the lengthy and rigorous approval procedures of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The process can take years. For this reason, the U.S. sunscreen market has been stagnant since 1999, the last year new sunscreens were released. This means that Americans still use outdated sunscreens, far from the innovative, protective, efficient, eco-friendly, and pleasant-to-use formulations of European products. This backwardness has provided fertile ground for those who believe that sunscreen does more harm than good, for fake news, and conspiracy theories on the subject.

The Suncare Skepticism

The no sunscreen movement encourages not protecting oneself during sun exposure. The reasons? There are more than one, let's see them. The most common is that sunscreen blocks the absorption of vitamin D, which, according to anti-sunscreen influencers, is alone capable of neutralizing any potential risk from the sun's rays. The second reason is based on a debatable theory: if sunscreen was invented in the 1930s, why wasn't there a surprisingly high number of skin cancer cases before then? The connection to cancer and all the negative effects of not using sunscreen must therefore be a plot by Big Sunscreen, scaring us into spending money and staying indoors more. 

@_jazreyes Ultimate Sunblock Test Pt. 2! Did your favorires make it to the list of the tops???? Mixed new brands in with the winners from the previous test to see which ones i would cop and the ones i’d drop. #sunblocktest #spftest #sunblockreview #sunblock #spfreview #sunblockviral #spf50 #skincarereview #skincaretok She Share Story (for Vlog) - 山口夕依

Sunscreen: what it's for and when to use it

Experts, and we along with them, will never stop repeating that exposing yourself to the sun without protection is a certain risk, while the possible negative effects of creams are yet to be verified. For this reason, sunscreen should be worn all year round, in all weather conditions and in every place. Sun exposure without it allows UV rays to penetrate the dermis, increasing the chances of serious skin damage such as sunburn, redness, erythema, premature aging, and dark spots. Especially, the correlation between sunburns and the risk of skin cancer is proven, so much so that according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, "even a single sunburn in childhood or adolescence doubles the chances of developing melanoma in adulthood." Current data also doesn't lie. In the United States, about 5 million malignant skin cancers are diagnosed each year, and 90% are caused by improper sun exposure.

@gigismoak happier in the sun>> #summer #sun #relatable #tan #saltygranolagirl #vscogirl #fyp #foryoupage #foryou #sunshine original sound - Jake Deyton

The spread of melanoma in Italy and how to prevent it

The AIOM-AIRTUM 2023 Report reveals "The numbers of cancer in Italy": melanoma is the third most common cancer before age 50, in both sexes. Unfortunately, in recent decades the average age at diagnosis has dropped to the point that today it is one of the most common cancers among adults under 30. It affects one in 55 men and one in 73 women. Last year, about 12,700 new diagnoses were estimated, of which 7,000 were among men and 5,700 among women. The 5-year survival rate has reached 88% among men and 91% among women. Considering these alarming data and the beginning of summer, the Cancer Research Foundation (AIRC) reminds us to protect ourselves under the sun: "Among the main risk factors is excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays." The keyword is prevention, but also correct behavior. AIRC reminds us of some practical tips:

  • Avoid the hottest hours and prolonged sun exposure;
  • Apply sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 30 several times;
  • Wear sunglasses, a hat, and a T-shirt;
  • Do not expose infants and young children directly to the sun;
  • Pay attention to moles, periodically checking for new formations on the skin or if existing moles have changed appearance, following the ABCDE rule.