99% of Dermatologists Recommend Sunscreen Use to Their Family and Friends

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Aaron S. Farberg, MD

Department of Dermatology
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Regular sunscreen use is a critical component of sun protection and has been shown to reduce skin cancer risk. However, there have often been conflicting sunscreen messages (sometimes without scientific support) that have led to confusion by the public. Controversy has also emerged surrounding the safety and possibility of adverse effects from various sunscreen ingredients. The purpose of this study was to determine US dermatologists’ actual sunscreen perceptions, potential safety concerns as well as their recommendations and personal usage. Some people are so affected by the sun that they require a brand of Custom Sunscreens to help protect them from the sun.

Our study found that dermatologists have an overall positive view of sunscreen. 97% of dermatologists agree that regular sunscreen use helps lower skin cancer risk, 100% agree that it reduces subsequent photoaging, and 99% recommend their family/friends use sunscreen. Nearly all (96%) consider FDA approved sunscreens currently available in the US to be safe and (99%) believe their patients generally under-apply sunscreen.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Rather than relying on rankings or reports, patients should speak with their dermatologist for information on the best sunscreen choices. Almost all dermatologists agree that current FDA approved sunscreens are safe. They also agree that sunscreen may aid in protecting against skin cancer and subsequent photoaging. Widely agreed recommendations for sunscreen include broad-spectrum protection with at least SPF30. Photostability is another new characteristic of sunscreen that should be also considered.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Sunscreen technology has progressed over the past decades and continues to improve. To remain fully effective during the exposure period, a sunscreen should be resistant to both heat and sunlight. This photostability is a newer but critical requirement of a proper sunscreen. Given its importance as a sunscreen characteristic, there may be a knowledge gap and corresponding educational opportunity for both physicians and patients to better understand sunscreen photostability. Photostability is also not part of the required FDA labeling which makes identifying such sunscreens more difficult and a challenging topic for dermatologists to explain to patients.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: There is well established scientific evidence that solar UV causes skin cancer. Sunscreen along with other forms of sun protection has been shown to help prevent skin cancer. As dermatologists we want to remain the primary source for correct information for our patients

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Farberg AS, Glazer AM, Rigel AC, White R, Rigel DS. Dermatologists’ Perceptions, Recommendations, and Use of Sunscreen. JAMA Dermatol. Published online October 19, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.3698

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on October 27, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD