Sunscreen Use Among Whites and Hispanics

Nov 16, 2013
Avoiding Sunburn Top Reason for Sunscreen Use Among Whites and Hispanics

Avoiding sunburn is the top reason for using sunscreen, while forgetting to apply it is the most common reason for not using it, according to a research letter by Heike I.M. Mahler, of the University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Mahler conducted a study to compare the reasons for using and failing to use sunscreen among 323- Asian/Pacific Islanders, 65 Hispanics, and 795 non-Hispanic whites with baseline questionnaires. Study participants checked off reasons behind the decision-making.

Study results found avoiding a sunburn as the most frequent reason for using sunscreen and forgetting to apply as the top reason for not. Half of the white participants indicated avoiding wrinkles as another reason for using sunscreen, whereas only 36 percent of Asian/Pacific Islanders endorsed it. Other common reasons to forgo sunscreen include it being “too greasy,” being “too much trouble” and preventing a tan.

“This study found some racial/ethnic differences in reasons for engaging in one important type of risk reduction behavior- sunscreen use,” the authors conclude. “Future work should focus on increasing generalizability by recruiting larger Hispanic, African American, male, and community samples and examining disparities in other prevention behaviors.”
(JAMA Dermatol. Published online November 13, 2013. doi:10.1001/.jamadermatol.2013.4992.