Many baby boomers were sun-worshippers. As children of the 1950s and 60s, a number of boomers spent their summer days outside in the sun with no protection, because sunscreen did not exist back then. As teenagers, boomers would grease themselves up with baby oil and bake in the sun for hours to get that perfect tan. Well, they got the tan but many also got skin cancer. Today, skin cancer is prevalent among baby boomers and is escalating at an alarming rate.
The baby boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964, loved being outdoors and started the sun-worshipping trend. Suntanning became a way of life. Now, baby boomer sun-worshippers are paying the price.
According to a recent Harris Poll, 82 percent of the baby boomers surveyed said ‘they frequently spent time in the sun during their childhood without protecting their skin from the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet or UV rays.’ Experts blame the increase in baby boomer skin cancer on this generation’s culture of suntanning with little or no protection, mostly in the sun but also in tanning salons. Now many baby boomers have skin cancer.
All baby boomers need to be viligant when it comes to the sun and skin cancer. They should have an annual skin examination, as skin cancer often appears after age 60. If caught early, skin cancer spots may be removed by a dermatologist. If it turns out to be melanoma, early detection can save the patient’s life. But an AARP survey indicates only 16 percent of baby boomers have a skin examination every year and many still do not protect heir skin from the sun.
Baby boomers can take steps to protect themselves:
- avoid the sun between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM;
- use sunscreen with a sun protection of SPF 15;
- wear protective clothing to cover skin,
- wear a wide-brimmed hat;
- use sunglasses to protect the eyes; and
- avoid tanning beds and sun lamps.
Baby boomers were unaware of the importance of protecting their skin from the sun as children and teenagers. Many are paying the price for that perfect tan in their youth. Today, boomers know the risks, should heed the precautions, protect their skin and worship the sun from afar.