6 Ways To Get Your Teen To Wear Sunscreen

“Did you remember to put on sunscreen?” Between asking if he’s cleaned his room and telling her to finish her homework, negotiating with your teens can seem like a constant battle. Luckily, there are ways to make the sun protection battle more enjoyable for everyone. Here are six tips for getting your teen to use sunscreen.

1. Give them sunscreen

Make things that much easier for your teen by being the one to provide the sunscreen. Buy a brand of sunscreen you know your teen will like and give it to him directly, toss it in her beach bag, or put in a convenient place in the house. Before your teen can finish saying “I don’t know where any sunscreen is,” show them the shelf or medicine cabinet where you’ve stored a bottle. On family vacations, hand your teen sunscreen as she walks out the door. If it’s in their hands, they’re that much likelier to use it.

2. Suggest an app

There’s an app for everything these days and helping you with sunscreen is no exception. If you live in Australia, tell your teens about the SunSmart app created by the Cancer Council, which helps track weather and UV levels so teens know when to protect themselves from the sun. There are other UV apps out there as well.

3. Make sunscreen more social

Remind your teens that they can share their sunscreen with friends. Teens are most likely to do whatever they see their friends doing. If they don’t see their friends using sunscreen, they’re more likely to skip it themselves. If, on the other hand, they do see their friends using sunscreen, they’re more likely to use sunscreen too. Sometimes a simple tip from you (“Hey, remember you can share your sunscreen with Joe”) is all it takes to get both friends thinking about — and using— the sunscreen they would have otherwise ignored.

4. Offer reminders

Rare is the teen with sun protection at the front of the brain. More likely, your teens are thinking about the activities they’re participating in, friends they’re hanging out with, plans for later in the day, hunger, thirst — pretty much anything but sunscreen. It never hurts to offer reminders. To keep from nagging, try saying a reminder out loud to yourself. “Oh look, it’s been two hours already! Time to reapply some sunscreen.” Teens will often follow suit without being asked directly.

5. Buy the sunscreen they want

Popular brands of sunscreen for teens include Neutrogena, SkinCeuticals, L’Oreal Paris, Kiehl’s, Aveeno and Clinique. If it’s in your budget, get the “cool” brand your teen wants. She may want one that prevents breakouts or one that smells like raspberries. She may want a brand purely because it’s what a friend uses or she saw an ad for it. If it will get her to wear the sunscreen, it might be worth it.

6. If they won’t listen to you, bring in Wolverine

Hugh Jackman, the Australian actor known for playing self-healing Wolverine in the X-Men film series and a five-time skin cancer survivor, often encourages his fans to wear sunscreen. If your nudges aren’t getting through, maybe a look at Wolverine with a bandage over his nose after a skin cancer procedure will.

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