A cross-sectional study of sun-related behaviours in the internet era

J Dermatolog Treat. 2020 Apr 21;1-10. doi: 10.1080/09546634.2020.1751039. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: To identify the use and purchasing behavior of sunscreen products over the internet by Australian females, and factors contributing to these.Methods: A cross sectional study of 1065 Australian female participants aged 18 and over was performed in August 2019, utilizing an online questionnaire to collect descriptive data regarding current demographics and behaviors in sunscreen product use, online sunscreen product purchasing, sunscreen product preferences and barriers to use, and sun exposure behaviors.Results: 57% of 1065 participants have used the internet for sunscreen product recommendations, and 41% have made online purchases of local or international sunscreen products. Participants are more likely to check the ingredients regularly when buying them online (38%) than when purchasing them while overseas (31%).Internet use for sunscreen recommendations and purchasing was significantly impacted by the level of education (p < 0.001), age (<0.001), time in Australia (p < 0.001) and ethnicity (p < 0.001). Checking listed active ingredients when purchasing international sunscreen products online was significantly affected by the level of education (p = 0.02).Conclusion: There is a large proportion of Australian women who use the internet for recommendations or purchasing of sunscreen containing products. Active ingredients should be clearly listed when advertised on the internet, especially for international sunscreens.

Keywords: Sunscreen; internet; melanoma; non-melanoma.