Home » today » Health » Young people have a risk they don’t understand – 2024-04-25 13:02:42

Young people have a risk they don’t understand – 2024-04-25 13:02:42

Almost a quarter of Finns burn their skin once a year. Usually, protection from the sun’s UV radiation is left unprotected in the rush to leave. Protection among young people is influenced by, among other things, the social circle and whether their parents use sunscreen.

In 2022, the Iskelmä Festival was hot. According to the study, young men in particular do not protect themselves from the sun’s UV rays due to their ignorance. Illustration image. Antti Nikkanen

Finnish young people generally understand the risks of the sun’s UV radiation, but are often indifferent to protection. Young people do not see skin burns as a health risk, or even if the risk is known, it is not taken seriously.

Master of Health Sciences Laura Mikkolan according to young people, because of their age, they do not feel that skin cancer affects them. He did a master’s thesis on sun protection for young people at the University of Eastern Finland. The young people interviewed were 16–20 years old.

– The skin always returns to normal after a burn, which is why it is not taken so seriously, Mikkola says at the Radiation Protection Agency’s press conference.

However, the skin remembers every time it has been burned, and the health effects of UV exposure of the skin are only seen years and decades later. Mikkola says that young people’s exposure to UV radiation has increased due to, among other things, the admiration of tanning, traveling and climate change.

– Young people belong to the UV radiation risk group, they are more sensitive to radiation and spend a lot of time outdoors.

The need for protection starts when the UV index is over three. The index can be followed from the UVI forecast service of the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Sun protection

Usually, young people protect themselves from the sun’s UV radiation by using sunscreen. If the skin does not burn easily, sunscreen is used less often.

– Sun protection is not considered necessary if the skin does not burn very easily.

Mikkola says that the experiences of burning the skin also have a wider impact on young people’s thinking about sun protection. If the skin has been burned before, or a friend’s skin has been badly burned, one’s own skin is protected more closely.

– There are social factors involved in this, i.e. if your friends protect themselves, you protect yourself. Information promotes protection, but even good information did not guarantee good protection.

Lack of knowledge, on the other hand, prevented protection, especially among young men, who did not necessarily think that there was anything harmful in sunlight.

– The women were aware of the disadvantages and the importance of protection, but the protection is still insufficient.

Young people want expert information about the benefits of sun protection, for example in schools and through social media. Harmful warning was not considered a good way to approach the subject.

Up to 80 percent of skin melanomas could be prevented with the right protection. It is especially important to protect the skin of children and young people, which burns more sensitively. FRANK LEIMAN

The effects of climate change

According to the latest climate forecasts, temperatures will rise in Finland. The hot periods experienced in Europe will be longer and more severe in the future. It means higher amounts of dangerous UV radiation in Finland as well.

Are children and young people now and in the future at a greater risk of skin cancer due to this?

– We think that the effect will come specifically with global warming, that is, the risk will remain the same, attention must be paid to protection both now and in the future, says a researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute Kaisa Lakkala.

The skin remembers what has been experienced, and lifelong exposure and burning of the skin increases the risk of skin cancer. Burning the skin as a child is particularly harmful, although everyone’s skin needs protection from the sun.


This is how you protect yourself from UV radiation:

  • It is best to avoid being in the sun for a long time at the time of the strongest radiation, i.e. around 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in summer. If you are outside, try to take a break from being in the sun, for example by seeking shade. However, the shade does not protect against all UV radiation.
  • Clothes protect the skin, so you should choose long legs and sleeves.
  • Sunscreen protects skin areas that cannot be covered with clothes. In the cream, you should choose at least a protection factor of 30. For children, you should use a product aimed at children with a protection factor of at least 50.
  • A wide-brimmed hat protects the neck and head.
  • At midday, you should seek shade or go inside.
  • Sunglasses protect the eyes.


UV radiation, i.e. ultraviolet radiation, is electromagnetic radiation from the sun. It has many effects on skin cells, among other things it starts the production of vitamin D and increases the risk of skin cancer. Due to the effect of radiation, the skin tans, thickens and ages.

Ultraviolet radiation can be divided into three parts: UVA, UVB and UVC radiation.

The most common radiation is long-wave UVA radiation. UVA radiation is the cause of skin tanning. The radiation penetrates the skin layer and is finally absorbed into the tissues.

Significantly less UVB radiation reaches the earth’s surface. It affects the uppermost layers of the skin, as a result of which the skin layer becomes thicker. If you are exposed to too much UVB radiation, the surface layer of the skin burns and starts to redden. UVC radiation, on the other hand, usually does not penetrate the atmosphere.

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