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Cancer Causes Control. 2011 Jul;22(7):1067-71. doi: 10.1007/s10552-011-9780-1. Epub 2011 Jun 3.

Hat, shade, long sleeves, or sunscreen? Rethinking US sun protection messages based on their relative effectiveness.

Author information

1
Department of Dermatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, 450 Broadway St, Pavillion C, Redwood City, CA 94063, USA. linos@stanford.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Sun protection messages in the United States emphasize sunscreen use, although its efficacy in skin cancer prevention remains controversial.

METHODS:

We used data from NHANES 2003-2006, restricted to adult whites (n = 3,052) to evaluate how Americans protect themselves from the sun. Participants completed questionnaires on the frequency with which they used sunscreen, wore a hat, long sleeves, or stayed in the shade, in addition to the number of sunburns in the past year.

RESULTS:

Although using sunscreen is the most common sun protective behavior (30%), frequent sunscreen use was not associated with fewer sunburns. However, the odds of multiple sunburns were significantly lower in individuals who frequently avoided the sun by seeking shade (OR = 0.70, p < 0.001) or wearing long sleeves (OR = 0.73, p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings suggest that shade and protective clothing may be more effective than sunscreen, as typically used by Americans.

PMID:
21637987
PMCID:
PMC3873510
DOI:
10.1007/s10552-011-9780-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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