Szeto MD, Kokoska R, Maghfour J, Rundle C, Presley C, Harp T, Hamp A, Wegener V, Hugh J, and Dellavalle R. 359 Public sunscreen dispenser distribution in the United States: Continued COVID-19 trends during 2021. J Invest Dermatol 2022; 142(8):S61.
J Invest Dermatol
The COVID-19 pandemic may have significantly affected consumer preferences and societal behavior regarding sun protection and skin cancer. IMPACT Melanoma is a United States nonprofit organization for skin cancer prevention/education, and a prominent nationwide sunscreen distributor. Substantial decreases in the distribution of public dispensers and sunscreen were noted at the onset of the pandemic in 2020, especially to public health departments and parks/recreation facilities. Analysis of 2021 data has revealed that total distribution remained at similar levels relative to 2020. However, private business (-77%), public health department (-71%), and healthcare facility (-41%) orders decreased the most, while nonprofits (+612%) and educational institutions (+86%) greatly increased orders. 2021 orders continued to demand only hybrid (physical combined with chemical formulation) sunscreens. Maine, Massachusetts, and Wyoming received the greatest total numbers of dispensers and sunscreen in 2021. Despite organizational and regional fluctuations, these persistent overall reductions in public access to sunscreen are concerning, and corroborate broader pandemic patterns of falling retail consumer sunscreen sales. Dermatologists should be made aware of this pandemic-era erosion of consumer attitudes towards sun protection and sun damage risk, and encouraged to continue advocating for sunscreen use during the pandemic.