Factors associated with regular use of sunscreen in medical students in Lima, Peru


Introduction: Use of sunscreen is encouraged to reduce the risk of skin pathologies caused by radiation. It is important to acknowledge the associated factors with sunscreen use in young populations to design better prevention policies.

Objective: To determine the factors associated with the regular use of sunscreen in first year medical students from a Peruvian university.

Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study was performed. Our population was first-year medical students from a Peruvian university. We elaborated and applied a virtual survey with socio-demographic data and photoprotection knowledge, attitudes, and practices questions. To evaluate the factors associated to sunscreen use, we used ordinal logistic regression.

Results: From 420 first-year students, 299 surveys entered the analysis. We found that 53.5% of the participants had less than 18 years, 63.2% were female, 9.3% responded that it is worth it to get a sunburn to look tan, being this perception higher in females than males, 38.1% used sunscreen always or almost always in the last summer. Factors associated with the use of sunscreen in the ordered logistic adjusted regression were male sex (OR=0.50, IC95%=0.34-0.86), participation in photoprotection workshops in the last year (OR=2.40, IC95%=1.28-4.37) and having somebody to remind them the use of sunscreen during the last months (OR=3.80, IC95%=1.28-11.20).

Conclusions: In our sample, a higher use of sunscreen was related with female sex, having attended to workshops and having a person for reminding the use of sunscreen. This highlights the importance of educational and reminder activities in the consolidation of habits such as sunscreen use.

Key words: Sun protection; Sunscreen; Ordinal logistic regression.