Face-aging app may convince teens to protect against the sun

Use of a face-aging app that demonstrates the long-term effects of sun damage improved skin-protecting behavior in teenagers, according to a new study.

In a randomized trial of Brazilian high school students, daily use of sunscreen increased from 15% to 23% during the six months after the teens saw their aged selfies. The proportion of students who performed at least one skin self-exam nearly doubled (25.1% to 49.4%) during this period, and tanning rates dropped from 18.8% to 15.2%.

An editorial published with the study on May 6, 2020 in JAMA Dermatology, co-authored by Allen Geller, senior lecturer on social and behavioral sciences at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, called the study representative of “an exciting direction for the science of skin cancer prevention in adolescents.”  The authors noted, “Healthy habits established in adolescence have the potential to produce lifelong dividends.”

Read MedPage Today coverage: Face-Aging Selfies Help Modify Risky Skin Behaviors for Teens