Assessment of knowledge, attitudes and practices about sun exposure and sunscreen usage in outpatients attending a dermatology clinic in North India

Mrinal Gupta


Objective To assess the knowledge, attitude and practices about sun exposure and sunscreen usage in outpatients attending a dermatology clinic.


Methods Three hundred consecutive patients attending a dermatology clinic were enrolled for this questionnaire-based cross-sectional, descriptive study.


Results A total of 300 patients, comprising of 112 (37.33%) men and 188 (62.67%) women, aged between 14 and 78 (mean 47.13) years, were included in the study. Majority of the patients, 216 (72%) were in the 20-60 year age group and 226 (75.33%) belonged to an urban background. Assessment of the sun exposure revealed that 224 (74.67) respondents reported daily sun exposure whereas 76 (25.33%) had occasional sun exposure. Assessment of the knowledge revealed that 241 (80.33%) patients were aware of the adverse effects of excessive sun exposure but only 139 (46.33%) were aware of the carcinogenic effect of sunlight. A total of 212 (70.67%) respondents were aware of the benefits of sunscreens but only 156 (73.58%) were using the sunscreens. Sixty-one respondents (39.1%) reported that they used sunscreens on a daily basis while 95 (60.89%) used it occasionally. Lack of awareness was the most common reason (44.67%). Newspapers (47%) and television (39%) were the most common source of information in our respondents.


Conclusion Information, education, and communication activities are imperative to educate people regarding the risks of excessive sun exposure and significance of preventive measures like sunscreens to bridge the gaps in their knowledge. While improvement in individual economic status and education remains highly desirable, mass media can play a pivotal role in creating awareness among masses.


Skin cancer, UV radiation, sun screen, photoprotection

Full Text:



Diepgne TL, Mahler V. The epidemiology of skin cancer. Br J Dermatol. 2002;146 (Suppl 61):1-6.

Balato N, Gaudiello F, Balato A, Monfrecola G. Sun habits in the children of southern Italy. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007;57:883-7.

Melia J, Pendry L, Eiser JR, Harland C, Moss S. Evaluation of primary prevention initiatives for skin cancer: a review from a U.K. perspective. Br J Dermatol. 2000;143:701-8.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer Working Group on artificial ultraviolet (UV) light and skin cancer. Int J Cancer. 2006;120:1116-22.

Geller A, Cantor M, Miller D, Kenausis K, Rosseel D, Rutsch L et al. The Environmental Protection Agency National Sun Wise School Program: Sun protection education in US schools (1999-2000). J Am Acad Dermatol. 2002;46:683-9.

Fabris MR, Martignago BC, Fabris TR, Duraes ES, Blanco LF. Assessment of knowledge of skin cancer prevention and its relation with sun exposure and photo protection amongst gym academy members on the south of Santa Catarina, Brazil. An Bras Dermatol. 2012;87(1):36-43.

Gebert B, Johnston K, Bleecker T, McPhee S. Attitudes about skin cancer prevention: A qualitative study. J Cancer Educ. 1996;11:96-101.

Devos SA, Baeyens K, Van Hecke L. Sunscreen use and skin protection behavior on the Belgian beach. Int J Dermatol. 2003;42:352-6.

Yurtseven E, Ulus T, Vehid S, Koksal S, Bosat M, Akkoyun K. Assessment of Knowledge, Behaviour and Sun Protection Practices among Health Services Vocational School Students. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2012;9:2378-85.

Al-Mutairi N, Issa BI, Nair V. Photoprotection and vitamin D status: A study on awareness, knowledge and attitude towards sun protection in general population from Kuwait, and its relation with vitamin D levels. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2012;78:342-9.

Autier P, Boniol M, Severi G, Dore JF. Quantity of sunscreen used by European students. Br J Dermatol. 2001;144:288-91.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN: 1560-9014