Practice Safe Sun

How do you reach a generation of teens more influenced by Twitter than textbooks, teens who are more tuned into YouTube than public safety announcements, more hooked in by Jersey Shore than the safety messages put out by the dermatologist? It’s become increasingly challenging to convince ever-distracted youth of the dangers of tanning. A multitude of skin cancer awareness and prevention material is distributed daily through digital and print, but how do we most effectively get through to young adults?

In 2006, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan Magazine, Kate White piloted a campaign to make skin cancer awareness and prevention an important pillar to Cosmo’s value structure in order to target and prevent the next generation of potential skin cancer patients from having to see the inside of a hospital. The Practice Safe Sun Campaign is now in its 7th year of editorial, Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Sun Safe editorials have influenced and saved countless lives. The magazine has since partnered with The Melanoma Research Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on Melanoma advocacy. The magazine has further strengthened their awareness campaign through facets including national legislation, celebrity endorsements and charitable donations.

Monthly articles are published in each of Cosmo’s magazines and range from celebrity endorsed public safety announcements, tips of the week (online), how-to’s of skin safety, sun protective product reviews and more. By making Practice Safe Sun articles an integral component of Cosmo’s monthly publication, both casual and dedicated readers of Cosmo are able to absorb the wellness and beauty benefits of choosing healthy skin.

Beyond exposing the scary truths of sunbathing and extreme ultraviolet tanning, Cosmo recognizes sun safe advocates through an annual awards ceremony called Practice Safe Sun Awards. Here, the work of sun aware celebrity role models is celebrated in an evening gala event. At the Practice Safe Sun Awards, surfer and model, Marissa Miller sheds light on her own impressions of skin cancer prior to involvement with Practice Safe Sun explaining that, “I actually read an article in Cosmopolitan magazine about women in their twenties getting Melanoma, which was a complete eye opener to me because you think cancer is something that happens later in life and you think you’re invincible when you’re twenty and that nothing’s going to happen. So after reading that article, it really opened my eyes and I haven’t been to a tanning bed in four years,” she finishes by saying, “there’s just no reason to do that, to put your health at risk for a tan.”

White’s ideas were put into motion after she read shocking statistics reporting that Melanoma had become the second most frequently reported cancer in women in their 20s. She later read the story of a young mother who died of melanoma, leaving her 5-month twins behind. The more she read, the more solidly White felt about the urgency of Cosmo’s Sun Safe awareness venture. What’s come into fruition through her efforts is nothing short of inspiring. At the award ceremony, actress, Kristin Bell advised young tanners by saying, “if you care at all and you’re driven by vanity, like most of us are, the products are out there. Just be smart.”

Learn more about Cosmopolitan’s Practice Safe Sun Campaign: