Sunscreen non-users and Their Reasons: An update


eMediNexus Editorial    17 February 2023

Sunscreen use makes an important aspect of sun protective behavior. Previous studies have revealed insufficiencies in using sunscreen. A study by Diehl K. et al. quantified sunscreen use in a nationwide representative study in Germany and developed and tested an item battery on reasons for none use of sunscreen. It analyzed data from the National Cancer Aid Monitoring (n = 3000, aged 14–45). 


It used chi2 statistics and logistic regression analysis to describe those who only use sunscreen rarely or never. Additionally, it utilized a newly developed item battery on barriers to sunscreen use; and used Cronbach′s alpha to investigate reliability. 


The analysis revealed that 20.7% of the people reported using sunscreen rarely or never. Infrequent or no use of sunscreen showed association with male sex, immigrant background, none or rare sunbathing in summer, and current or past use of sunbeds. Participants with higher skin cancer risk (e.g., pale skin) rarely used sunscreen infrequently or never. The major causes for not using sunscreen were inconveniences and no perceived requirement for applying sunscreen. Overall, the study found very good internal consistency of the item battery on potential barriers to sunscreen use. 


This study describes deficits in sunscreen use, especially in sunbed users, men, and individuals with immigrant backgrounds. These results give important implications for future prevention and health promotion campaigns on sunscreen use.


Diehl K, Schneider S, Seuffert S. et al. Who Are the Nonusers of Sunscreen, and What Are Their Reasons? Development of a New Item Set. J Canc Educ. 2021; 36:1045–1053. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13187-020-01732-2

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