Nine in 10 teens and young adults report using sunscreen, according to a research letter published online Nov. 15 in JAMA Network Open.
Arianna Strome, from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a survey to assess teens’ and young adults’ knowledge and experiences using sun protection and to understand what interventions would be most beneficial in increasing the use of sun protection among their peers. The analysis included 977 respondents (mean age, 19.3 years).
The researchers found that 62.1 percent stated it is very important to protect their skin, with 25.5 percent saying it was important and 5.4 percent saying it was somewhat important. The most frequently cited reason for sun protection was skin cancer (51.7 percent). While the vast majority of youth (90.1 percent) reported use of sunscreen, 81.1 percent said they had had one or more sunburns, with 28.4 percent reporting five or more burns. Respondents suggested demonstrating the consequences of sun exposure to increase use of sun exposure among youth.
“Our findings suggest that youth understand the short and long-term risks of sun damage yet have difficulty successfully implementing sun protection,” the authors write.