Skip to main content

Health library

Many people fail the sunscreen test

July 16, 2017—Skin doctors have long been spreading the message: Sunscreens help protect the skin from cancer. Yet many people still don't know when and how to use sunscreens correctly, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Researchers offered free sunscreen to attendees at a U.S. state fair, then watched whether the people used the sunscreen and how they applied it. Only about 1 in 3 people who used the sunscreen actually applied it where dermatologists suggest: on all exposed skin. Many put sunscreen on their face, but only about half applied it to their arms. And most left their chest and legs unprotected.

The researchers also found that, as expected, more people applied sunscreen on sunny days. On cloudy days, fewer people opted to use sunscreen, which the researchers said reflected a common misperception that you can't get a sunburn on cloudy days.

Read more breaking news Related stories