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Photoprotection in teenagers

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It is very common to apply a ‘template photoprotection’ without taking into consideration the background of a specific population. In Lebanon, so far, no preliminary survey has been conducted before launching an educational photoprotection campaign, revealing the need of the people according to their background. Materials and methods:

In April 2004, a specific questionnaire was administered to 940 adolescents, aged from 14 to 18 years. The questionnaire comprised 18 multiple-choice questions that established the approximate phototype of teenagers, awareness of ultraviolet (UV) hazard, presence of sufficient information regarding the risk of sun exposure (school, doctor, media) and the use of measures of photoprotection (clothes, sunscreens). Results:

The incidence of sunburn in teenagers was high (85.42%) despite their awareness of the risks of unprotected sun exposure. The information regarding sun damage seems to be insufficiently delivered at school and by doctors. The main source of information was television. It was obvious that our adolescents underestimated the value of clothing to protect themselves. The use of clothing comes at the second place after sunscreens. However, the application of sunscreen seems to be inadequate. Conclusions:

While solar protection has become part of routine beach behavior for adolescents, there is room for improvement with better application of sunscreen and more use of clothing, especially wearing hats, and seeking shade. However, it is difficult to appreciate the impact of publicity campaigns on the risks of sun exposure in reducing the incidence of melanoma.
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Keywords: campaign; melanoma; photoprotection; teenagers

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon, 2: Biostatistics teacher, Faculty of Medicine, Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon 3: Department of Dermatology, CHU Purpan, Toulouse, France and

Publication date: 01 February 2006

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