Sun Safety in 2022
Sun Safety: Study Reveals 1 in 3 Americans Rarely Wear Sunscreen
Summer is underway and as many people spend time outside, it’s easy to forget about protecting your skin. Whether you’re spending time at the pool, beach or a backyard barbeque, it’s important to use sunscreen or sunblock because sun damage can happen quickly.
Sun damage can result in brown spots, wrinkles, and sunburns. While many of those concerns can be addressed through cosmetic procedures, the most concerning issue is developing skin cancer. So do Americans take sun safety seriously? We surveyed more than 1,000 people across the country to find out.
When it comes to using sunscreen or sunblock, the majority of Americans are not using products regularly. 13% say they use sunscreen on their body most or all of the time, while 53% say they use it sometimes, and 34% rarely or never put on sunscreen. Nearly 2 in 5 men (39%) rarely or never use sunscreen, compared to 28% of women.
Although the majority of Americans don’t use sunscreen regularly on their body, more report being diligent about putting sunscreen on their face. 29% of people use sunscreen on their face most or all of the time, while 43% say they sometimes put it on their face, and 28% rarely or never use it. Additionally, nearly half (44%) of women use sunscreen on their face most or all of the time, compared to just 15% of men.
Only 31% of Americans say they wear sunscreen year-round. The majority of people (58%) report only wearing sunscreen during the summer months and even more concerning, more than 1 in 10 say they don’t wear sunscreen at all.
For some, putting on sunscreen depends on the weather and their plans as 52% say they only wear sunscreen while doing certain activities on sunny days. Despite the lack of sunshine on cloudy days, experts still recommend wearing sunscreen as ultraviolet (UV) rays can penetrate clouds, however 61% of Americans say they never wear sunscreen on partly cloudy or cloudy days.
Nearly 2 in 3 (65%) Americans say they only put sunscreen on certain body parts. Which are most important? 70% of people say they are most concerned about covering their face followed by shoulders or back (14%), arms (7%), and neck (7%).
Whether it’s a matter of convenience or just personal preference, 68% of Americans prefer sunscreen lotion over sunscreen spray. Additionally, more than 2 in 3 (68%) say they don’t know the difference between sunblock and sunscreen. While both products work to protect skin from the sun, sunblock blocks UV rays, while sunscreen can filter and absorb UV rays.
For many, the SPF of a sunscreen or sunblock they’re using is important. 36% of those surveyed use SPF 50 most often. That’s followed by 1 in 3 (33%) who use SPF 30, 13% use SPF 45, 12% use SPF 70 and above, 5% report using SPF 15 or below and 1% say they use tanning oil the most.
Sun damage can occur in less than 20 minutes, so it’s important to make sure you put on sunscreen or sunblock ahead of going outside, which 72% of Americans say they do. 17% say they put it on after being outside. For those who don’t use sunscreen at all, 26% say it’s because they don’t spend time in the sun and 1 in 4 say they don’t need to use it.
Many medical experts recommend reapplying sunscreen or sunblock every two hours. Among those surveyed who use sunscreen, 39% say they only apply sunscreen once, 21% reapply every two hours, 15% reapply every three hours, and 25% reapply every four hours or more.
Besides using sunscreen or sunblock, hats and sunglasses can also help protect you from the sun. 40% of Americans say they rarely or never wear a hat outside, 41% sometimes do, and 20% say they always do. As for sunglasses, 29% of people say they rarely or never wear them outside, 33% sometimes wear them, and 38% always do. It’s also important to make sure you know the sunscreen you’re using hasn’t expired, 48% report checking the expiration dates on their products.
More than 1 in 3 (34%) Americans say they’ve been sunburnt in the last year. The body part Americans burn the most? 53% report getting sunburnt on their shoulders and back. The face is the second most burnt body part (49%), followed by the neck (31%), and arms (30%).
Despite 63% of people being concerned when they get sunburnt, only 54% are worried about getting skin cancer and 87% of Americans do not get annual skin cancer screenings. Additionally, 72% have never been checked by a dermatologist or medical professional for skin cancer and 84% do not know the ABCDE rule of skin cancer. The acronym stands for asymmetry, border, color, diameter and evolving which are characteristics of skin damage and things to look out for to identify potential skin cancer.
As more people spend time outside this summer, it’s important to make sure you are taking precautions. Spending a few minutes to put on sunscreen or sunblock can make all the difference for your skin and overall health. If you are concerned about any skin spots, make sure to contact a dermatologist.
In June 2022, we surveyed 1,108 Americans for their feedback on sunscreen use and sun safety. The gender of our respondents was 49% female, 49% male, and 2% non-binary or transgender. The average age was 36 years old.
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