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Int J Cosmet Sci. 2017 Oct;39(5):550-555. doi: 10.1111/ics.12413. Epub 2017 Aug 11.

Conventional sunscreen application does not lead to sufficient body coverage.

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Research & Development, Beiersdorf AG, Hamburg, Germany.



This study aimed to assess sunscreen application habits and relative body coverage after single whole body application.


Fifty-two healthy volunteers were asked to use the test product once, following their usual sunscreen application routine. Standardized UV photographs, which were evaluated by Image Analysis, were conducted before and immediately after product application to evaluate relative body coverage. In addition to these procedures, the volunteers completed an online self-assessment questionnaire to assess sunscreen usage habits.


After product application, the front side showed significantly less non-covered skin (4.35%) than the backside (17.27%) (P = 0.0000). Females showed overall significantly less non-covered skin (8.98%) than males (13.16%) (P = 0.0381). On the backside, females showed significantly less non-covered skin (13.57%) (P = 0.0045) than males (21.94%), while on the front side, this difference between females (4.14%) and males (4.53%) was not significant.


In most cases, the usual sunscreen application routine does not provide complete body coverage even though an extra light sunscreen with good absorption properties was used. On average, 11% of the body surface was not covered by sunscreen at all. Therefore, appropriate consumer education is required to improve sunscreen application and to warrant effective sun protection.


emulsion; photoprotection; skin barrier; skin physiology; sunburn; sunscreen

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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