If you want to teach teens to use sunscreen, then show them a video about how it protects them from getting wrinkles, not on how it protects them from getting skin cancer.
This was the result of a recent study reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
"Vanity is more of a driving force to use sunscreen, as opposed to the fear factor of developing skin cancer," the study's lead author, William Tuong a fourth-year medical student at the University of California, Davis told Reuters Health.
The study evaluated the responses of 50 students in 11th grade from Sacramento, California. Students were randomly selected to see one of two five-minute educational videos urging them to wear sunscreen.
One video attempts to persuade them to use sunscreen by suggesting that it helped prevent them from getting wrinkled skin like their grandparents. The young woman in the video stated, "Have you seen what the sun can do to a grape? It gets shriveled and wrinkled. Raisins are not cute."
She went on to say, "The sun causes wrinkles, dark spots, uneven skin tones, sagging skin and rough, leathery skin. These are all the things that will make you look older and definitely less sexy."
This is the link to the aging skin video.
The other video discusses how sunscreen protects people against getting skin cancer. The tone is more like a biology lesson as the young woman describes how skin cancer can harm you.
This is the link to the aging health video.
The researchers assessed how often the students used sunscreen before watching the videos and then again six weeks later.
The results were pretty significant. Students who watched the aging skin video started out with sunscreen use on average of .6 times a week. Afterwards, their use increased to 2.8 times a week.
The health video change of sunscreen use was not so significant. Those students started with a .7 times a week of use and rose to .9 times a week.