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Indian J Dermatol. 2018 Jul-Aug;63(4):285-291. doi: 10.4103/ijd.IJD_609_17.

Knowledge and Attitude of General Population toward Effects of Sun Exposure and Use of Sunscreens.

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Department of Dermatology, D Y Patil Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.



Sun exposure causes extensive intrinsic as well as extrinsic changes in the skin. Pathogenic effects of sun exposure such as tanning, melasma, skin cancer, and aggravation of various photodermatoses such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) may be prevented by the use of sunscreens. We conducted the present study to assess the knowledge and attitudes regarding sun exposure and use of sunscreens.


Two thousand and thirty-seven volunteers answered the questionnaire over a period of 2 years. All adults aged 18 years and above who voluntarily agreed to participate in the study after written informed consent were included.


Out of 2037 volunteers, 1242 volunteers had no knowledge of sunscreens. Sixty-eight percent of the volunteers from the upper class of society knew about sunscreens, and 86% of the volunteers from the lower middle class did not know about sunscreens. Eight-one percent of the volunteers did not suffer from sunburns. Eight-four percent of the volunteers were aware that sun exposure caused darkening, but awareness about other effects of sun exposure such as wrinkling, melasma, allergy, and photo-induced cancers was less. Most of the volunteers agreed that sunscreens protected against sun damage and tanning. Fifty-eight percent of the volunteers applied sunscreen before venturing out, and 78% of the volunteers applied sunscreen only on the face. Prevention of tanning was the most common reason for the usage of sunscreens. Cosmetic appeal and irritant potential were the prominent deciding factors in choosing sunscreens.


Awareness about protective spectrum of sunscreens, their correct method of application, and misconceptions need to be focused on. Better product development keeping in mind the Indian conditions would help in increasing the usage of sunscreens.


Melasma; SPF; sunscreens; tanning

Conflict of interest statement

There are no conflicts of interest. What is new? The knowledge about sunscreen and its benefit, other than prevention of tanning, is low. The awareness about benefits of sunscreen is limited. Stickiness and high cost are some of the reasons for not using sunscreens.

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