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Background: In the United States, skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, with an estimated 5 million people treated per year and annual medical treatment expenditures that exceed 8 billion dollars. The purpose of this study was two-fold: 1) to enumerate the number of advertisements for skin products with and without Sun Protection Factor (SPF) and to further analyze the specific advertisements for sunblock to determine if models, when present, depict sun safe behaviors and 2) to enumerate the number of articles related to the skin for content. Both aims include an assessment for differences in age and in magazines targeting a Black or Latina population.

Methods: The sample for this cross sectional study was comprised of 99 issues of 14 popular United States magazines marketed to women, four of which market to a Black or Latina audience.

Results: There were 6,142 advertisements, of which 1,215 (19.8%, 95% CI: 18.8-20.8%) were related to skin products. Among the skin product advertisements, 1,145 (93.8%, 95% CI: 93.9-96.3%) depicted skin products without SPF. The majority of skin articles (91.2%, 95% CI: 91.7-100.0%), skin product advertisements (89.9%, 95% CI: 88.2-91.6%), and sunblock advertisements featuring models (were found in magazines aimed at the older (>24 yr) audience.

Conclusion: Future research on this topic could focus on the extent to which images in these magazines translate into risky health behaviors, such as sun seeking, or excessive other harmful effects of UV radiation.


This article was originally published in Health Promotion Perspectives, available at doi: 10.15171/hpp.2015.031.

This is an open access article, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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