Comparison of sunscreen availability in Chicago Hispanic and non-Hispanic neighborhoods

Claudia Hernandez*, Diana Calero, Gina Robinson, Robin Mermelstein, June K. Robinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Poorer survival rates from melanoma among Hispanics have been previously reported. There is little information regarding sunscreen acquisition behaviors or availability/access to products that may help reduce the risk of skin cancer in Hispanic communities. This study sought to understand perceptions regarding sun protection and skin cancer risk and whether the availability of over-the-counter sunscreen products differed in three Chicago neighborhoods with different ethnic compositions. Methods: We drew on interviews with 65 adult Spanish speaking Hispanics (23-72 years) recruited from faith-based institutions to better understand sunscreen use perceptions. Commercial establishments open to the general public were physically canvassed to determine whether there were any differences in sunscreen products availability. Results: Stores carrying sun protection products are nearly twice as common in non Hispanic White neighborhoods versus Hispanic. In addition, when sunscreens are available for sale, Hispanics have fewer sunscreens to choose from. Discussion: Emergent themes that were elicited during the interviews revealed that barriers to increased sunscreen use include economic and erroneous perceptions regarding skin cancer incidence and risk. Environmental factors that may reinforce these beliefs include lower availability and variety of sun protection products in Hispanic neighborhoods. Conclusion: These findings indicate that providing culturally appropriate public health information encouraging the use of sunscreen and improving its availability in Hispanic communities are potential points of intervention in attempts to improve morbidity from skin cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-249
Number of pages6
JournalPhotodermatology Photoimmunology and Photomedicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Disparities
  • Hispanics
  • Skin cancer prevention
  • Sun-protective behaviors
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunscreen availability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Dermatology


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