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The Wonders of Skin: Looking Good, Being Healthy (Grades 6-12)  

Skin Health Education Curriculum
Last Updated: Feb 12, 2014 URL: Print Guide

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The Wonders of Skin


About The Wonders of Skin Curriculum

For over a decade, The Wonders of Skin has helped educators teach students in Grades K-12 critical skills and information about maintaining skin health. A vital component of comprehensive school-based health education, the program has, to date, provided curriculum, professional development, consultation, technical assistance, and take-home materials to more than 5,500 teachers, school nurses, counselors and administrators in over 3,000 public schools reaching more than 5 million students in 22 states and the District of Columbia.


Developed by The New York Academy of Medicine’s Office of School Health Programs in partnership with the American Skin Association, the curriculum was pilot-tested in the New York City public schools in 1999.  A year later, an outcome evaluation by Teachers College, Columbia University offered compelling evidence of its effectiveness and led the NYC Deparment of Education to designate The Wonders of Skin as an approved curriculum for use in the city’s schools.


Presentation of the prestigious Gold Triangle Award in 2001 by the American Academy of Dermatology, the largest and most influential organization representing the nation’s dermatologists, paved the way to disseminate the program nationally. The New York Academy of Medicine undertook a major review and updated the curriculum in 2010 with the help of noted dermatologists from the American Skin Association’s Education Council and Medical Advisory Committee. Today, The Wonders of Skin continues to improve young people’s knowledge, beliefs and behaviors relating to skin health in urban, rural and suburban school districts and communities throughout the United States.


This website provides eight lessons and relevant resources designed for those teaching middle and high school aged students.



The Wonders of Skin: Looking Good, Being Healthy


Curriculum at a Glance (Grades 6-12)




Health Domain


Lesson 1:

The Wonders of Skin

Discussion, Diagram

Structure and Function of the Skin

Growth and Development; Personal Health

Critical Thinking

Lesson 2:

For the Life of Your Skin

Group work, Presentations, Writing goals

Impact of Lifestyle on Skin Health

Growth and Development; Personal Health

Critical Thinking,

Goal Setting

Lesson 3: You've Got It Made in the Shade

Discussion, Advocacy activity

Sun Safety and Skin Cancer

Injury Prevention; Disease

Decision-Making, Advocacy

Lesson 4:

Acne: The Inside Story

Discussion, Newsletter


Personal Health

Obtaining Help

Lesson 5:

Herpes: A Modern Epidemic

Discussion, Simulation


Social Health; Disease Prevention

Decision-Making, Critical Thinking

Lesson 6:

Skin Conditions

Group work, Photographs, Presentation

Skin Diseases and Disorders

Disease Prevention

Obtaining Help

Lesson 7:

Tattoos and Body Piercing

Discussion, Letter Writing

Decorating the Skin Safely

Injury Prevention; Disease Prevention

Decision-Making, Advocacy

Lesson 8:

Wise Buys

Media Analysis, Newsletter

Advertising and Skin Care Products

Consumer Health



Why Teach Skin Health?

There are many compelling reasons to teach about skin health. Consider these important facts:

  • The skin is the body’s largest organ and plays an important role in protecting the body from germs and disease. Skin is essential for
    life, as important as the heart and lungs.
  • There is increasing evidence that youth exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight are developing skin cancer later in life. Today, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States and its incidence continues to rise every year.
  • Students’ appearance is a major concern to them, especially during the middle and high school years. The health of their skin is directly related to the attractiveness of their appearance.
  • Teaching about the skin provides an opportunity to talk about our skin and diversity in a positive way.
  • Teaching about skin health provides an opportunity to help students understand skin problems and develop compassion for others who have skin disorders. 

Contact Us:




 ASA Web site

(212) 889-4858
Send Email



NYAM Web site

(212) 822-7264

Send Email



©The New York Academy of Medicine Library

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