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Background Although White individuals have higher incidence of melanoma, clinical outcomes are worse among patients with skin of color. This disparity arises from delayed diagnoses and treatment that are largely due to clinical and sociodemographic factors. Investigating this discrepancy is crucial to decrease melanoma-related mortality rates in minority communities. A survey was used to investigate the presence of racial disparities in perceived sun exposure risks and behaviors. Methods A survey consisting of 16 questions was deployed via social media to assess skin health knowledge. Over 350 responses were recorded, and the extracted data were analyzed using statistical software. Results Of the respondents, White patients were significantly more likely to have higher perceived risk of developing skin cancer, highest levels of sunscreen usage, and higher reported frequency of skin checks performed by primary care providers (PCPs). There was no difference between racial groups in the amount of education provided by PCPs related to sun exposure risks. Conclusion The survey findings suggest inadequate dermatologic health literacy as a result of other factors such as public health and sunscreen product marketing rather than as a consequence of inadequate dermatologic education provided in healthcare settings. Factors such as racial stereotypes in communities, implicit biases in marketing companies, and public health campaigns should be considered. Further studies should be conducted to determine these biases and improve education in communities of color.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Fliorent R, Podwojniak A, Adolphe L, et al. (January 13, 2023) Racial Differences in Perceived Risk and Sunscreen Usage. Cureus 15(1): e33752. doi:10.7759/cureus.33752