Motivating teens not to tan, on teens’ terms 

When dermatologist Dr. Cindy Firkins Smith was doing research on the topic of teens and tanning for a presentation earlier this year at 42nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology, she says it surprised her that her assumptions about children’s tanning behavior were not always correct. And Smith, a clinical professor of dermatology at University of Minnesota, Minnesota, is more aware of the issue than most. She and colleagues worked for 11 years on legislation to prevent minors from using tanning booths.

So, what surprised her?

“I assumed that everyone tanned because they wanted their skin to be darker. But in doing the research, I discovered that not everyone’s motivations are the same,” Dr. Smith tells Dermatology Times. “In order to encourage people to stop doing this specific behavior, you really have to know what motivates them.”

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