To get a more informative (and less judgmental) take on skin cancer in young people, I tapped Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. I asked him if he is increasingly diagnosing skin cancers in patients 25 and under recently.
“Skin cancers are uncommon in patients under 25,” Zeichner told me. “That being said every year, I seem to find more and more skin cancers in this group of patients. This may be due to not protecting the skin as well as they should have when they were younger, the use of tanning beds, and depletion of the ozone layer allowing greater penetration of UV light to the Earth’s surface.”
I also asked Zeichner to elaborate on what makes some young people more susceptible to skin cancer than others. “Skin cancers develop as a result of genetics and environment,” Zeichner said. “In some people, even low levels of UV light are enough to cause damage that causes skin cancers to develop. In other people, their skin cells are genetically more resistant to the effects of ultraviolet light. Family history is an important predicting factor. If your first-degree relatives have a history of skin cancers, you should be extra vigilant in protecting yourself from the skin.” This definitely rings true for me, as my parents and grandparents have all had numerous basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.
Scroll down to find out my top suncare tips, and shop my favorite suncare products. Don’t forget to book a skin check with your own dermatologist as well.