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Study Calls for Broader Sunscreen Advertising to Men, Outdoor Lovers

Armen Hareyan's picture

Sunscreen and skin care

A new review of advertisements in popular U.S. magazines suggests that essential sun protection messages are reaching too few men, outdoor enthusiasts and travelers.

Seventy-seven percent of the 783 sun-protection ads analyzed were found in women's magazines.

"There's a huge opportunity to reach an untapped market," said Alan Geller, a research associate professor with the Boston University School of Medicine. The analysis also shows that marketers need to better use advertising to convey the proper use of sun care products, he said.

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The study, which appears in the May/June edition of the American Journal of Health Promotion, acknowledges the sun-care industry's stepped-up efforts to promote sun protection to women. Still, the analysis may be perceived as another hit to U.S. sunscreen manufacturers. Geller's analysis comes on the heels of class-action lawsuits filed in California alleging that some top sunscreen makers have misled consumers and exaggerated the ability of their products to protect against damaging ultraviolet rays.

The review of 24 magazine titles spanned 579 issues published between May and September from 1997 to 2002.

There were about four sun-care ads per issue in women's magazines, versus less than one ad per issue in parent and family magazines. In the outdoor-recreation category, sun-protection ads averaged less than one in every six issues.

Dermatologist David J. Leffell, a professor of dermatology and surgery at Yale School of Medicine, also works as a consultant for a large U.S. manufacturer of sun-care products.

"With my contacts I have