August 15, 2005

Sunscreen does not encourage more sunbathing-study

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Using a strong sunscreen does not lead
people to spend more time sunbathing in the belief they can do
so safely, researchers said on Monday.

Study author Alain Dupuy of the Saint Louis Hospital in
Paris wanted to know if the higher protection afforded by
stronger sunscreens would encourage longer sun exposure by
delaying the warning sign of sunburn and giving a false sense
of safety.

As part of the study, sunscreen was provided for free to
367 vacationers at French seaside resorts.

The vacationers, 80 percent of whom were women, were given
one of two strengths of sunscreen labeled either "high
protection" or "basic protection."

The amount of time reported spent in the sun had no
connection to the perceived level of protection, ranging from
13 to 15 hours a week, according to the report in the journal
Archives of Dermatology.

One of four of those who used the weaker sunscreen got
sunburned, compared to one in seven who used stronger
sunscreen. Six were burned severely.

The study was also found out that many participants did not
always use the provided suncreen and that most people still
badly wanted a tan.

"One of the most chilling findings of (the study) was not
the featured data concerning sunscreen use; rather, it was the
self-reported intent of 96 percent of the participants to get a
tan during their vacation week, and this while they were
participating in a sunscreen study," said an accompanying
editorial written by journal editor Dr. June Robinson and Dr.
Mark Naylor of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.

"Clearly, this population views sunscreens more as tanning
aids than as a means of limiting (ultra-violet light) exposure.
Unfortunately, it is very clear from these and other studies
that measure sun-exposure behavior that we have a long way to
go to get this situation headed in the right direction," they