Sunscreen use among collegiate athletes

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2005 Aug;53(2):237-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2005.04.056.


Background: College athletes participating in outdoor sports are a population with extensive exposure to ultraviolet radiation during the peak hours of the day. These relatively young athletes could represent a group with alterable habits.

Objective: We sought to assess the level of sunscreen use in college athletes who are at high risk for ultraviolet radiation exposure.

Methods: An anonymous survey was administered to NCAA soccer and cross-country teams at 4 universities. Answers were analyzed for proportions of sunscreen use and associations among various host variables.

Results: Of the surveyed athletes, 85% reported no sunscreen use in the previous 7 days and only 6% reported sunscreen use at least 3 of the previous 7 days.

Limitations: The subject population is limited to one geographic area and includes athletes from only two sports.

Conclusions: These results identify a need for improved primary prevention of ultraviolet damage among the more than 250,000 NCAA athletes participating in outdoor sports. A preventive program involving education, provision of readily available sunscreen, and coach participation is needed to target these individuals.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sports*
  • Sunburn / prevention & control
  • Sunscreening Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities


  • Sunscreening Agents