A survey of 220 adolescents attending a multiphysician pediatric office in Virginia was conducted to determine the frequency with which they used sunscreens. Eight-one percent of the teenagers in the study stated that they spent most weekends in the sun; however, only 9% always used sunscreen, while 33% never did. Factors found to be associated with increased sunscreen use included female sex (odds ratio = 4.5, P < .0001), having a best friend who routinely used sunscreen (odds ratio = 3.0, P < .001), having parents who insisted on sunscreen use when the teenagers were children (odds ratio = 3.0, P = .006), and knowing that the maximum time for safe exposure to the sun is short (odds ratio = 6.2, P < .0001). Adolescents with a history of skin cancer in the family were not more likely to use sunscreens than other teenagers. Thirty-three percent of the girls and 16% of the boys older than 15 years of age reported that they had visited a tanning salon at least once. This survey substantiates poor compliance with sunscreen use by teenagers despite increasing evidence of the dangers of excessive sun exposure.

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