Highlights from

AAD 2021

American Academy of Dermatology Virtual Meeting Experience 2021

Virtual 23-25 April 2021

Sun behaviour linked to skin phototype and race/ethnicity

Summary: As skin cancer is the most preventable cancer, reducing risk is key. In addition to sun exposure, skin tone is an important risk factor. Skin cancer prevention behaviours differ by skin phototype (SPT), and race/ ethnicity.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. Non-melanoma skin cancer affects one in five Americans with an increased incidence in minorities, including Asian-Americans and Hispanic Americans. Differences in sun-protective behaviours were investigated among these risk groups.1 A cross-sectional study was conducted from 2005 to 2015. Fitzpatrick SPT is a commonly used system to describe a person’s skin type in terms of response to ultraviolet light and is based on an individual’s skin colour. SPT describes the skin type more accurately than race/ ethnicity.

A total of 67,471 individuals were included in the study. Sun-sensitive non-Hispanic white participants were more likely to use sunscreen, have a lifetime history of undergoing a full-body skin examination, and tan indoors than minorities. In contrast, all SPT minority categories were more likely than non-minorities to practice sun avoidance and use protective clothing. A significant increase in avoidance among sun-sensitive non-Hispanic white participants was noticed.

Although the study was limited by the accuracy of self-reported SPT and the small sample size of sun-sensitive minorities, differences were observed in sun-protective behaviours among sun-sensitive minorities and non-Hispanic white participants.

  1. Bolik et al. Sun protective behaviors in sun-sensitive individuals: examining for ethnic and racial differences. Poster 25255. AAD VMX 2021, 23-25 April 2021.

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Article image: @ JodiJacobson

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