Tutorial Boosts Teen Acne, Sun-Protection Knowledge

Combining education on short-term and long-term skin health problems enhances awareness of both

THURSDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- Combining skin cancer-prevention education with facts about acne could raise knowledge of both topics among adolescents, researchers report in the March issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Alexandra Kimball, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues studied the educational impact of combining acne education with information about sun-protection in 1,214 middle school and high school students from New Jersey. The team assessed knowledge of anatomy, treatment and prevention strategies immediately before and after administering the PowerPoint-based "skin sun-acne tutorial" (SkinSAT).

On average, students answered 44 percent of 20 questions correctly on the pretest, and 80 percent on the post-test. Performance on questions concerning both acne and sun-protection improved in the post-test. All student groups saw improvement regardless of age, ethnicity, race or gender. There were race- and ethnicity-based differences. For instance, Asian scores improved by 42 percent, compared to 35 percent for both whites and blacks.

"This study introduces the idea that photoprotection education can potentially be more effective if it is integrated with education about acne, an issue that is of more immediate relevance to adolescents," the authors write. Noting that most school principals expressed interest in "obtaining a sun safety curriculum," the authors established a Web site (www.skinsat.org) to provide the SkinSAT tutorial to educators.

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