Children Apply More Sunscreen with Pump, but Insufficient Amounts


QUEENSLAND, Australia—A crossover quasi-experimental study design comparing three sunscreen dispenser types—pump, squeeze bottle or roll-on—found regardless of age, primary schoolchildren apply sunscreen at substantially less than 1.00 mg/cm2, similar to what has been observed among adults, and they applied significantly more sunscreen when using the pump (Arch Dermatol. Jan. 16, 2012).

A total of 87 children aged 5 to 12 years from public primary schools (grades 1 to 7) were monitored in order to measure the thickness at which they applied sunscreen on school day mornings and compared it with the thickness (2.00 mg/cm2) at which sunscreen is tested during product development, as well as investigated how application thickness was influenced by age of the child and by dispenser type (500-mL pump, 125-mL squeeze bottle or 50-mL roll-on).

Children applied sunscreen during three consecutive school weeks (Monday through Friday) for the first application of the day using a different dispenser each week. Children applied their sunscreen at a median thickness of 0.48 mg/cm2. Children applied significantly more sunscreen when using the pump (0.75 mg/cm2) and the squeeze bottle (0.57 mg/cm2) compared with the roll-on (0.22 mg/cm2) (P<0.001 for both).