Few skiers use sunscreen as directed

Researchers at Klein Buendel Inc, in Golden, Colotrado, examined compliance with sunscreen advice at ski areas in western North America.

First the details

  • 837 adult skiers and snowboarders at 28 high-altitude ski areas were surveyed.

And the results.

  • 4% showed full compliance with all sunscreen advice.
  • 50% used SPF or higher.
  • 73% of participants wearing sunscreen applied it 30 minutes before starting to ski or snowboard, but only 20% complied with advice to reapply it after 2 hours.
  • Factors associated with lowest compliance:
    • Inclement weather
    • Low UV days
    • Men
    • Belief that skin cancer is unimportant
    • Low sun-sensitive skin
  • People who use sunscreen were more likely to wear hats with a brim and use lip balm.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Although the recommendation to use SPF-15 or higher sunscreen has reached many adults, the reapplication advice is heeded by few adults and needs to be highlighted in future sun safety promotions.”

People generally know enough to be concerned about the risks of UV exposure, but they resist treatment for a condition they don’t have and don’t think they’re likely to get.

Klein Buendel is a communications firm specializing in creating professional training and education materials related to health issues.

1/17/12 21:30 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.