More than a quarter (26%) of teenagers admit getting sun burnt on purpose to try and get a tan, according to research published today.
Around a third (31%) said they never used sun cream in this country and more than half (55%) believe the sun is not so powerful in the UK.
The research was carried out by Teenage Cancer Trust to mark the launch of its new sun safety campaign called Shunburn.
Trust chief executive Simon Davies said: "We've found that young people display a worrying lack of awareness when it comes to protecting their skin from the sun.
"We are trying to educate them to prevent the over exposure to sun whilst young, which can lead to problems with skin cancer later in life.
"If we can stop just one young person from developing skin cancer when they are older then this year's Shunburn campaign will have been worth it."
The campaign is being backed by Skins star Nicholas Hoult and former EastEnder Michelle Ryan, who appeared in a photoshoot together to publicise the issue.
Ryan said: "When I was on holiday a few years ago I just didn't apply enough suncream and I burnt my legs really badly. I now always remember to put sun block on my face and factor 25 on the rest of my body."