The economic impact of acute sunburn

Arch Dermatol. 2003 Aug;139(8):1003-6. doi: 10.1001/archderm.139.8.1003.


Objective: To estimate the economic impact of sunburn in a beachgoing population during the summer.

Design: Survey.

Setting: Galveston, Tex, beachfront.

Participants: Convenience sample of 56 sunburned beachgoers. Intervention None.

Main outcome measures: Days of work lost as a result of sunburn in the previous year.

Results: Thirty-eight respondents (68%) reported painful sunburn. Sunscreen use did not prevent painful sunburn (23/38 [60%]). Those consuming alcohol at the beach had more severe sunburns than nondrinkers and had a higher frequency of analgesic use after sunburn (69% vs 26%, P =.007). Five men (5/18 [28%]) and 4 women (4/38 [10%]) missed a total of 9 and 8 days of work, respectively, because of sunburn within the prior year. Based on these findings and attendant assumptions, it is estimated that sunburn may account for as many as 92 720 lost workdays by Galveston beachgoers each year. The annual economic impact for lost work and treatment may exceed $10 million.

Conclusion: Sunburn is a costly and preventable skin injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bathing Beaches / economics
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sick Leave / economics
  • Sunburn / economics*
  • Texas
  • Time Factors