New Study Says ‘Low Self-Esteem’ Behind Sunscreen Avoidance


Its summer, so we all know what that means. Your kids are most likely out of school. You may hear a bit of thunder, depending on where you live. And oh yeah, the evil sun is back.

It’s that time of year again, the time of year that we are all told to lather up in chemicals and sit out in the sun for hours. Don’t forget to spray your child’s face with chemicals before he or she has a day at the pool.

My sarcasm being noted, I’m apparently a glowing example of a new study that claims “low self-esteem” and “narcissism” are the driving factors behind those who choose to avoid chemically-laden sunscreen products.

Rather than crediting people with intelligence in their decision-making process (right or wrong, people are more informed than ever), they are instead claiming that an “addictive tanning behavior” is the ultimate decider in whether or not to wear sunscreen.

The findings were published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs. Assistant professor of marketing at Oregon State University-Cascades Amy Watson and lead author have surmised that less sunscreen use is directly resulting from people fearing they won’t look good. They claim their study shows that people fear that a sunscreen may thwart the tanning process.

“What we found is that this knowledge doesn’t matter to the consumers,” Watson said. “That tactic to require sunscreen manufacturers to include this information is not effective.”

Watson concluded, “We need to move away from the narrative where tan skin is associated with health and youth. That’s the opposite of reality. Because reality is tan skin is damaged skin.”

This, apparently, translates to those who have low self-esteem as being the ones who choose to avoid sunscreen.

A good tip for dealing with the sun is to cover up during high-times for sun exposure. For example, where a hat and long sleeves during the 10 AM to 3 PM range. Or just avoid going outdoors. Or find shade.

There are many people who choose to not use sunscreen because they believe that it either doesn’t work, or they feel the chemicals they’d be running into their skin would not be safe. However, the “you have low self-esteem” pitch might serve up some better headlines and reverse psychology.

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Written by Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, DO. Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.