Author(s): Ezzedine K, Guinot C, Mauger E, Pistone T, Rafii N,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Overexposure to sunlight during long stays in tropical countries can reveal short- and long-term harmful effects on the skin of Caucasian residents, especially for fair-skinned subjects. The aim of this study was to describe sun exposure and sun protection behaviors during lifetime among French adults who declared having experienced at least one expatriation period in tropical or high-sun index areas for a duration of more than three consecutive months. METHODS: A self-reported questionnaire on sun exposure behavior was addressed two times, in 1997 and 2001, to the 12,741 French adult volunteers enrolled in the SU.VI.MAX cohort. A total of 8,084 subjects answered to the first survey and 1,332 additional responders answered to the second. Among the 9,416 individuals, 1,594 (652 women and 942 men) corresponded to expatriates and the remaining 7,822 to nonexpatriates (4,972 women and 2,850 men). A descriptive analysis of sun exposure and sun protection behaviors during lifetime of expatriates and nonexpatriates was performed by gender. RESULTS: Among women, 39\% of expatriates belonged to the 50 to 60 class of age at inclusion, versus 33\% in nonexpatriates (72 and 55\% in men, respectively). In women, expatriates declared more frequently having during lifetime exposed voluntarily their skin to the sun, practiced tanning between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., less gradually exposed their skin, experienced intensive sun exposure, and exposed their skin during nautical sports and practiced naturism. In men, expatriates declared more frequently having experienced intensive sun exposure and exposed their skin during outdoor occupations and during nautical and mountain sports. CONCLUSIONS: Although expatriates are aware of travel health advices concerning the countries where they planned to stay, they are usually poorly informed about sun exposure risk factors. Such individuals who planned to expatriate in countries with a high ultraviolet index should benefit from a visit to a travel clinic including specific health care information for risk related to sun exposure, ie, skin cancers and photoaging.
This article was published in J Travel Med
and referenced in Journal of Carcinogenesis & Mutagenesis