Sunscreen use while driving

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2013 Jun;68(6):952-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2012.12.964. Epub 2013 Feb 4.


Background: Data regarding patient perceptions and behaviors about sun-protection measures while driving are lacking.

Objectives: This study evaluates patients' awareness of the importance of sun protection while in an automobile, and assesses perceptions about and compliance with sun protection. A secondary objective was to detect any significant laterality in melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers.

Methods: We performed a retrospective survey of patients seen at a Mohs micrographic surgery clinic.

Results: Significantly fewer patients reported wearing sunscreen while in an automobile when compared with general daily sunscreen use (52% vs 27%, P < .05). Most respondents did not think they needed to use sunscreen while driving, especially if the windows were closed. Those who believed they were protected from sun damage while in a car were much less likely to use sunscreen (12% vs 46%, P < .05). There was a significant left-sided predominance of nonmelanoma skin cancers, except in patients who used automobiles with tinted windows.

Limitations: This retrospective survey study design is not as ideal as a randomized controlled trial. Additional limitations of this study include small sample size, selection bias, and recall bias.

Conclusion: Our results reveal poor patient awareness of and compliance with sun-protection measures while in an automobile. Skin cancer prevention efforts should be modified to specifically address automobile-related sun exposure.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Automobile Driving*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / prevention & control*
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Sunscreening Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Sunscreening Agents