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Arch Dermatol. 2005 Apr;141(4):482-8.

Sunburn related to UV radiation exposure, age, sex, occupation, and sun bed use based on time-stamped personal dosimetry and sun behavior diaries.

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Department of Dermatology, Bispebjerg Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.



To assess when sunburn occurs and who experiences sunburn by personal UV dosimetry and diaries.


Open prospective observational study.


University hospital.


A convenience sample of 340 Danish volunteers: children, adolescents, indoor workers, sun worshippers, golfers, and gardeners (age range, 4-68 years).


Subjects recorded sunburn and sun-exposure behavior in diaries and carried personal, electronic, wristwatch UV radiation (UVR) dosimeters that measured time-stamped UVR doses continuously for a median of 119 days covering 346 sun-years (1 sun-year equals 1 subject participating during 1 summer half-year).


A typical sunburn day was a day off work (91%; odds ratio, 4.1) with risk behavior (sunbathing/exposing shoulders) (79%; odds ratio, 15.9) in May, June, or July (90%) for 6.4 exposure hours (interquartile range, 5-7.7 hours), of which 2.8 hours fell between noon and 3 pm. Subjects had a median of 1 sunburn per sun-year; adolescents, sun worshippers, and indoor workers had more than children, golfers, and gardeners (P<.05). Sunburn peaked at age 20 years, and female subjects had more sunburns than male subjects (P<.01). Skin type IV had fewer sunburns than types I through III (P<.01). Sunburned persons had more risk-behavior days and lower skin type (P<.01) than nonsunburned persons. The median UVR doses received were significantly higher on sunburn days than on nonsunburn days with risk behavior (P<.01). There was a significant correlation between sunburn size and severity; sunburn and sunscreen use; and sunburn and sun-bed use (P<.01 for all 3 comparisons).


Sunburn was highly correlated with risk behavior. Reduction of risk-behavior days and/or exposure hours around noon can reduce sunburn. Sunburn was not found during breaks on normal full-time indoor work or school days.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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