Knowledge, attitude and practices about sun exposure, photoprotection and sunscreen usage among college students of Hassan in Karnataka: A cross-sectional study

Yashovardhana D P, Ravikiumar B C, Sucheta s swamy, Sonia Raghukumar, Archit Aggarwal


Background The adverse effects of sun exposure in the form of pigmentary changes, burning, premature skin aging and skin cancers are major concerns among the general public which often require photoprotective measures such as sunscreen usage and life style modifications. Hence we undertook this study to assess the knowledge, attitude and practices about sun exposure, photoprotection and sunscreen usage.


Methods A descriptive cross sectional study was conducted on 1000 college students from three different colleges by a closed end questionnaire, in which questions were based on knowledge, attitude and practices of sun exposure, photoprotection and usage of sunscreens.


Results Out of 1000 students, 879 responses were considered for analysis. Amongst these, 605 (68.82%) students said they had a tendency to tan, 204 (23.2%) tendency to burn and 341 (38.8%) tendency for pigmentary changes. A total of 343 (39.0%) knew about the harmful effects of sunlight. Only 244 (27.8%) students used sunscreen, of which 202 (82.7%) knew meaning of SPF, 29 (11.8%) knew the SPF value of their sunscreen, 29 (11.88%) knew quantity of sunscreen to be applied and 16 (6.6%) students used sunscreens always. Among 635 sunscreen non-users 508 (80%) were unaware of it.


Conclusion This study reveals that in comparison to western population, the knowledge concerning the detrimental effects of sunlight exposure and its prevention is lacking among the adolescent Indian population. This perhaps explains why millions of Indians silently suffer the deleterious consequences of sunlight exposure and tend to ignore it due to its  non-lethal nature.



Knowledge, sunlight, sunscreen, photoprotection

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