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Ultraviolet Facial Snapshot Shows Skin's Hidden Sun Damage, Encourages Sun Protection

High-Tech Photos Show Early Sun Damage

Instant Motivation continued...

Fewer used sunscreen. They reported wearing sunscreen about two out of three times on their face and about half the time on their bodies when sunbathing. They skipped sunscreen more than half of the time on their face (58%) and nearly eight out of 10 times on their bodies when outside but not sunbathing.

The study went a little further for some students. After finishing the first questionnaire, they watched a video about sun protection and had an instant UV photo taken of their face. Next, they saw their pictures and completed the second survey. Some also got a sample of sunless tanning lotion to take home. The researchers also wanted to see if this alternative to sun tanning would increase after the intervention. They were warned that the lotion didn't offer any sun protection.

Changing Their Ways

The UV photographs made an impact. They prompted more students to step up their sun efforts. The photographed students were also more likely to have told people about what they learned, the study shows.

However in surprise phone calls made one month later, only a third (37%) of those who got the sunless tanning lotion used it. Several students said they were afraid it would streak and look orange or unnatural.

Since many people didn't try the sunless tanning lotion, the results from that part of the experiment were limited. Based on the small numbers who did try it, "this might lead to additional sun protection behaviors," write the researchers.

Letting people take the UV photographs home could also help, say Mahler and colleagues. They didn't do that in this study, but the photo could be a lasting reminder to safeguard skin, they say.

Their study appears in the March edition of the Archives of Dermatology.

Brush up on Beauty

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