Sun Protection Misinformation Still Common

Yet, six in 10 U.S. adults give themselves high marks for sun protection

By Physician’s Briefing Staff | May 03, 2022

Many U.S. adults misunderstand how to protect themselves from the sun to reduce their risk of skin cancer, according to a survey released by the American Academy of Dermatology.

The results of the national survey were released in conjunction with the annual SPOT Skin Cancer campaign on Melanoma Monday, May 2. The survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted from Jan. 24 to Feb. 7, 2022.

The authors of the survey found that 62 percent of respondents gave themselves an overall grade of excellent or good for sun protection in 2021, yet 63 percent reported getting a tan (up from 54 percent in 2020), and one-third reported getting a sunburn (up from 25 percent in 2020). The survey also revealed knowledge gaps, with 67 percent incorrectly believing that sun protection factor (SPF) 30 sunscreen offers twice as much protection as SPF 15 sunscreen, and 43 percent unaware that shade protects a person from ultraviolet rays.

"As we head into summer, it's important that the public practices safe sun to reduce their risk of skin cancer," Mark D. Kaufmann, M.D., president of the American Academy of Dermatology, said in a statement. "If you use sunscreen to protect yourself, it's essential that you use it correctly or it will not protect you from sunburn, skin aging, and skin cancer."

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