The impact of ultraviolet photography on the sun safety awareness and behavior of skiers and snowboarders

Darren Lynn, Trevor Jones, Jacob Whitsitt, Ritika Trikha, Megan J. Schlichte, Chante Karimkhani, Lindsay Boyers, Helena Winston, Cory A. Dunnick, Robert P. Dellavalle


Objective: Snow sport enthusiasts, such as snowboarders and skiers, are a less studied population at significant risk for ultraviolet(UV) exposure due to long hours spent at high altitudes with more intense UV radiation. Studies have documented the efficacy ofUV photography to impact sun protection habits by individuals with a range of skin cancer risk factors. Informing snow sportenthusiasts of their sun damage through UV photography may be a way to change this population’s perception and behavior of sun protection.

Methods: A UV camera was utilized at the 2013 SnowSports Industries America Snow Show in Colorado to assess the levelof accumulated sun damage in show attendees. A follow-up survey was performed at this same event one year later in 2014. Participants at the 2013 event were recruited to a UV camera booth and completed a ten-question pre-survey assessing baselinesun-safety awareness and behaviors. Full-face frontal photographs using two different UV camera models were then takenand shown on a digital screen to the participants. Individualized education was provided regarding the degree of sun damage revealed by the intervention as well as sun safety recommendations. Participants were at the 2013 event were then contacted viaemail six months later to complete a ten-question survey on The survey assessed the permanence of the UV photography intervention on sun habits over the duration of the ski/snowboard season. Email was used for communication purposes after a poor response rate using telephone for a one-month post-intervention follow-up.

Results: The 2013 post-intervention study revealed a 41% response rate (n=46) with overall positive influence of UV photographyon sun protection behavior in the survey. Post-intervention survey results for the 2014 study with an observed response rate of 28% (n=37) with a similar overall positive influence of our intervention on sun protection behavior.

Conclusions: UV photography-based interventions and education may impact sun-safety behavior in high-risk populations such as skiers and snowboarders that may otherwise not receive appropriate education regarding the dangers of UV exposure and prevention of skin cancer. However, more controlled studies should be conducted to positively associate UV photography intervention and education and sun safety behavior.


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Journal of Epidemiological Research

ISSN 2377-9306(Print)  ISSN 2377-9330(Online)

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