Emphasis on aging prompts sunscreen use in teens

February 19, 2014

Using educational videos focused on premature aging caused by sun exposure was more likely to improve teens’ sunscreen use than videos focused on skin cancer risk, a recent study suggests.

 

Using educational videos focused on premature aging caused by sun exposure was more likely to improve teens’ sunscreen use than videos focused on skin cancer risk, a recent study suggests.

Researchers with the University of California, Davis, and University of Colorado, Denver, conducted a randomized, controlled study of 50 high school students from February to March 2012. Students viewed either a video focused on appearance - showing UV-induced premature aging - or a video that explained the skin cancer risk associated with UV exposure.

The students who viewed the health-based video had a nonstatistically significant increase in sunscreen use (0.9 ± 1.9 d/week, P=0.96), while the group that viewed the appearance-focused video showed a statistically significant increase in sunscreen use (2.8 ± 2.2, P<0.001).

The aging-focused group applied sunscreen at greater frequencies than those in the health-focused group, the study showed (2.2 ± 1.4 vs. 0.2 ± 0.6, P<0.001). The knowledge scores in both groups improved significantly, however.

“Appearance-based video education appears to be effective in promoting sunscreen use and knowledge in adolescents,” the study authors wrote.

The findings were published online Feb. 7 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology