Scared Straight

By Health Day

Are you having trouble getting your kids to protect their skin from the sun? Showing them these photos may change their mind.

Melanoma is a sometimes-deadly skin cancer that's striking more and more Americans.

In a new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers learned that ultraviolet pictures may be a useful tool in helping young people lower their risk of the disease. They took UV photos of hundreds of 11- and 12-year olds faces. These show sun damage on the skin before it's visible to the eye.

Kids who were at higher risk of developing melanoma because of their skin and eye color already showed more sun damage. The photos found more damage in children with red hair, blue eyes, light skin, more facial freckles, and more moles.

As one of the researchers told HealthDay, these UV pictures can be Òugly.Ó And they can do a good job of scaring young people away from the tanning booth.

Kids, teens, and young adults who want to avoid more sun damage and possibly a skin-cancer scare can also protect themselves by:

* Staying out of the sun, especially in the middle of the day

* Warding off sunlight by wearing long clothing

* And covering any exposed skin with an ample amount of sunscreen

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the news that doctors are reading; health news that matters to you.