In a new study published in the journal Cogent Psychology, researchers from the University of Surrey examined the way sun safe messages are conveyed to young women, and found that visual communication using technology to age participant’s faces to emphasis sun damage and premature ageing is most effective.
The findings from the research concluded that young women are most concerned about the immediate damage to their skin, and that a visual, personalised message that illustrated more immediate skin damage had more impact than either text-based messages or damage in the longer term.
Fair skinned young women are the most at risk group for malignant melanoma, a type of cancer most attributable to UV. However, they often don’t realise the extent of the risk. The new research studied the differences between text-based and visual messages and examined whether warning about future appearance has an impact on changing behaviours.
The results showed that after seeing their own face prematurely sun aged using the technology young women took two times the number of free sun screen samples and three times the number of skin cancer leaflets compared to those women who had read text information about the damaging nature of the sun. They also showed a 30% lower belief in the skin’s ability to heal.
“Malignant melanoma is on the increase yet young women often don’t protect themselves by using sun screen,” said Professor Jane Ogden of the University of Surrey, one of the authors of the study.
“Our study explored the best way of framing messages to change their attitudes and promote healthier behaviour. The results showed that appearance based messages that used imagery to emphasise sun ageing were the most effective. This sun ageing technology could be used more widely to increase sun screen uptake by young women.”
KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo has urged people to avoid using dangerous skin lightening and bleaching products.
Such products can cause skin cancer and even premature death, Dhlomo said in a statement on Saturday. “Over decades we have seen people blemished and disfigured, especially among the African and Indian groups, due to the use of skin lighteners,” he said.
“Wrong notions were being promoted to the effect that to be black, especially if you were particularly dark, was loaded with negative stereotypes. Several products promising miraculous transformations were then manufactured and marketed specifically to the black community.
“Consequently many black women and black men have mutilated their bodies and have even died because they used products containing harsh chemicals that promised peace of mind in a bottle,” he said.
The department officially launched an anti-skin lightening and bleaching campaign in Durban on Friday 26 August.
A superfood is a food particularly rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes and other essential nutrients with proven health benefits. It has more of the good stuff per calorie than other foods and fewer (or none) of the properties considered to be negative.
And when it comes to your skin, these are the top 10 foods you should always eat: broccoli, blueberries, salmon, almonds, spinach, beans, sweet potatoes, Greek-style yoghurt, quinoa and apples.
True, food isn’t everything, but much of the hope surrounding the anti-aging movement is focused on food and in particular on what are being called superfoods. This is not a scientific term and it is not a term used by dietitians or nutritional scientists.