Press release

The SAFE study covered 7 countries and found that people are not paying proper attention to sun protection advice

13 May 2022

May is Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Awareness Month EADV Spring Symposium - May 12–14, 2022.

Pierre Fabre Laboratories maintain their commitment to fighting skin cancer: the SAFE study covered 7 countries and found that people are not paying proper attention to sun protection advice.

  • Only 32.7 % of children and 13.1 % of adults had sufficient sun protection when exposed during the hottest hours of the day.
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 children (18.5 %) had sun cream applied every two hours during the high-risk hours of 11am–5pm when the sun is at its strongest.

Castres, France, May 11, 2022 - During the EADV Spring Symposium held in Slovenia from May 12–14, the Pierre Fabre Patient Centricity department will give a presentation on the Sunscreen Assessment Family Experience (SAFE) study. This survey of sun protection behaviors and exposure and in adults and children was carried out during high summer i.e., August 2021 in France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the USA, and January 2022 in Brazil and in Australia.

50–80 % of cumulative exposure occurs during early childhood and is the leading cause of most skin cancers2 . During skin cancer screening awareness month, a steady stream of prevention campaigns explains the importance of staying out of the sun between 11am and 5pm, applying sunscreen every two hours, and even wearing suitable protective clothing, but are people actually listening? Do they understand and follow the advice? This is what we tried to find out with our study of a sample of over 8,000 adults

Dr. Ariadna Ortiz Brugués
the Medical Directorate at Laboratoires Dermatologiques Avène

1st finding: People don't always fully understand the importance of sun protection

Some topics are still misunderstood, and myths refuse to go away...

  • 45 % of respondents did not know that UVB causes sunburn,
  • 27 % of respondents did not know that UVA penetrates deep into the skin and speeds up the aging process,
  • 67 % did not know that chemical filters absorb UV rays, and a further 21.7 % thought that clouds gave protection from the sun...
  • 11.6 % thought that being tanned meant you could stop bothering with sunscreen.


2nd finding: The recommendations for sun exposure among children are not being followed

For over 30 years, the annual sun prevention campaigns run by health care authorities have been repeated on loop, always with the same messages: “stay out of the sun between 11am and 5pm”, “re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours” ...  However, many people are ignoring this advice, and children are on the front line:

  • 98 % of children have been exposed to the sun, 70 % between 11am and 5pm, which is the hottest time of the day.  

Among adults….  

è Sun exposure during the hottest time of day is more common among young adults aged 18–34 (88 % of cases) vs. 70.1 % in the over 55s. 

3rd finding: Sun protection: Children and adults are not sufficiently protecting themselves from the sun

In children...

  • Although 64 % of children are given sun protection whenever they go out, regardless of how sunny it is each day, only 32.7 % are given sufficient protection.
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 children (18.5 %) had sun cream applied every two hours on sunny days, and only 10 % if it was cloudy.
  • In total, 31.9 % of children had been sunburned at least once during the summer, and an average of two times.

 Among adults….  

  • When the sun is at its hottest, only 13.1 % said they reapply every 2 hours...
  • 66.9 % admitted they thought their parents had not protected them enough or at all from the sun. This figure was 66.7 % for parents and 81.6 % for grandparents! 
  • More than 1 in 2 respondents (59.1 %) said they used sunscreen left over from last year.
  • 52.5 % of parents thought they were more careful with their children than their parents had been with them.

4th finding: Sunscreen behaviors: children take it more seriously than their parents

In 47 % of cases, children expressed a desire to apply sunscreen themselves (49 % among children over 6). This trend was seen in all countries: 41 % in France and Italy, 45.6 % in Germany, 51.6 % in Spain and 54 % in the U.S.
In 70 % of cases, children understood the importance of applying sunscreen (from 63 % in Italy to 75 % in France).


Based on these findings, health care professionals and pharmacists have a key role to play when it comes to sun prevention. Despite the sun protection campaigns run every year by the authorities for over 30 years, many people are still not following their advice. 

Two thirds of the people surveyed (parents and grandparents) admitted that they expose their children to the sun between 11am and 5pm, and only 31 % of children are only given protection when directly exposed to the sun. It is therefore crucial to continue with these prevention campaigns and continue educating the public.

The fact that one in two children expressed the desire to apply sunscreen themselves, and two thirds appeared to have understood why it was so important, gives hope that new generations will be more aware of the importance of protecting themselves from the sun.

About Pierre Fabre

Pierre Fabre is the 2nd largest dermo-cosmetics laboratory in the world, the 2nd largest private French pharmaceutical group and the market leader in France for products sold over the counter in pharmacies. Its portfolio includes several medical franchises and international brands including Pierre Fabre Oncology, Pierre Fabre Dermatology, Eau Thermale Avène, Klorane, Ducray, René Furterer, A-Derma, Naturactive and Pierre Fabre Oral Care.

In 2021, Pierre Fabre generated €2.5 billion in revenues, 66% of which came from international sales. Established in the South-West of France since its creation, the Group manufactures over 95% of its products in France and employs some 9500 people worldwide. Its products are distributed in about 115 countries. 

Pierre Fabre is 86%-owned by the Pierre Fabre Foundation, a government-recognised public-interest foundation, and secondarily by its own employees through an international employee stock ownership plan. Ecocert Environnement had assessed the Groups corporate social and environmental responsibility approach in accordance with the ISO 26000 sustainable development standard since 2019, and confirmed its“Excellence”level in 2021. For further information about Pierre Fabre can be found at,@PierreFabre


  1. A total of 8,120 adults responsible for children (6,662 parents and 1,458 grandparents) were surveyed. The study was carried out by EMMA, a French company and member of ESOMAR. EMMA adheres to the ESOMAR code of conduct.
  2. Stern RS, Weinstein MC, Baker SG. Risk reduction for nonmelanoma skin cancer with childhood sunscreen use. Arch Dermatol 1986; 122: 537-45