Sun Safety: Teach Teens to Do a Skin Check

Chrisanne Grise

All it takes is one serious sunburn to double your chances of developing melanoma later on. Just one! That's why it's essential to talk to your students about sun safety before they head off for summer vacation. Our article, Don't Get Burned!, will help you teach the basics, but you should also consider going over the skin check process in more depth to make sure your class understands what they need to do. It's a simple process, we promise--and we've even got handouts to help you out. Just follow these steps.


1. After reading Don't Get Burned!, reiterate to your students the importance of conducting skin checks regularly. The longer it takes to notice an unusual mole or bump, the more dire the situation can become, so encourage them to add a monthly reminder in their phone calendar to make sure they're frequently taking note of their skin. (You may even want to give them a minute to set up the reminders right then and there, if your school's cell phone policy allows it.)



2. Pass out our teen-friendly Skin Check Guide that we made with assistance from the Skin Cancer Foundation. The steps are fairly easy to understand, but go over them as a class to make sure no one has any questions. The main idea to drive home is that they should be checking every inch of their bodies--even the parts that don't normally get exposed to sun, like between the toes and under the armpits.



3. Then, hand out our Body Map so your students will be able to keep track of their findings during each skin check. If any of the spots become worrisome (see our sidebar, "'The Get It Double-Checked!' List"), they'll need to call a doctor as soon as possible.



4. If you or your students have additional questions or would like more information about skin cancer prevention, visit SkinCancer.org.


By taking these precautions, you can all enjoy a happy, healthy, and safe summer break. Enjoy!



For more information on summer safety (like staying hydrated and preventing heat stroke!) check out our Summer Survival Guide.

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