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Application of sunscreen preparations: a need to change the regulations


  • Conflicts of interest:
    None declared.

Adam Reich, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology, Wroclaw Medical University, Ul. Chalubinskiego 1, 50-368 Wrocław, Poland.
Tel: +48 605 076 722
Fax: +48 71 327 0942


Background/purpose: To achieve photoprotection indicated on the package of sunscreen products they should be used appropriately. As previously published data documented that people usually applied much less than the recommended dose, the current study was undertaken to assess whether a detailed instruction can improve the use of sunscreens.

Methods: A total of 105 volunteers were asked to apply sunscreen to the whole skin surface in the same way that they would do it before sun exposure. A subgroup of patients (n=53) were precisely instructed about the proper usage of sunscreens and compared with uninstructed subjects (n=52). Each tube containing the tested product was weighed before and after application to determine the quantity of the substance, that was used, and to compare it with the recommended dose.

Results: Instructed subjects used significantly more sunscreens (mean 8.6 ± 4.1 g/m2) compared with uninstructed controls (mean 6.8 ± 3.9 g/m2, P=0.03). However, both groups used much less of sunscreens than was the recommended amount (i.e. 43.0% and 34.1% of the recommended dose, respectively).

Conclusion: Current regulations about the sunscreen use are inadequate when compared with clinical practice and better standards of photoprotection should be elaborated in the future.

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