Study finds magazines promote sun exposure

Kamariea Forcier

The first few days of warm weather this year have students heading for the sunny outdoors and doctors warning that overexposure to the sun may cause skin cancer.
May is skin cancer awareness month and some doctors are concerned images in the media promote an unhealthy public obsession with tanning, while the number of skin cancer cases rises.
A study by a University dermatologist, Pierre George, and two other researchers found that popular American magazines have promoted darker tans and greater sun exposure.
“We found that fashion magazines do promote sun exposure,” George said.
The study examined models from six fashion magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Glamour and GQ, during an 11-year period for tan and body exposure to the sun.
Although the researchers found positive trends, including more articles about the effects of too much sun, there were still many negative findings in the study.
“The models tend to have dark tans, extensive skin exposure and very few of them wear hats,” George said.
The study was published in the Journal of American Academic Dermatology at a time when close to a million cases of skin cancer are being reported in the United States each year.
Even though skin cancer is the most common form of cancer among men and the second most common among women, students are not deterred from heading outdoors in search of sunshine.
Rory Erler, a General College freshman laying out Monday on Northrop Mall, said he doesn’t worry about skin cancer.
Erler, who said he rarely gets a sunburn, only wears sunscreen if he knows he’ll be in the sun all day.
He says he likes to be out in the sun, and getting a tan is a benefit.
“It’s attractive,” Erler said. “It’s not a must, but it’s nice.”
Another student, College of Liberal Arts freshman John Cary, enjoys being in the sun and wears sunscreen. He said he is more aware of the dangers of sun overexposure because skin cancer runs in his family.
People may not be aware of the signs of skin cancer, George said.
The American Cancer Society recommends that people wear a hat, long sleeves, long pants and sunscreen when they are outdoors to prevent sun damage.
Children are particularly at risk because they spend more time in the sun and receive three times more sun exposure than adults.