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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 139-146

Sunscreen use among albinos in Enugu, South-Eastern Nigeria

1 Department of Medicine (Sub-Department of Dermatology), University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State, Nigeria
2 Department of Community Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Uche Rowland Ojinmah
Skin Clinic, Sub-Department of Dermatology, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijmh.IJMH_1_20

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Background: Albinism is a congenital skin condition which is caused by lack or deficiency of tyrosinase enzyme leading to partial or complete absence of melanin from skin with attendant solar skin damage which could lead to premature skin aging, skin cancer, and visual problems. Good knowledge and proper use of sunscreens could prolong the life of people living with albinism. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study involved 40 people living with albinism who were recruited consecutively after giving informed consent. The subjects then responded to a pretested questionnaire and had their skin also examined. Analysis of data was done with SPSS version 20. Results: About 92.5% (n = 37) know about sunscreen but only 22.5% (n = 9%) have known about it for more than 10 years. Based on the ages of the study participants, many had lived for more than 10 years before getting to know about sunscreen and hence have been unprotected from damaging effects of sunlight for long. The most important sources of information about sunscreen are doctors 32.5% and fellow albinos 22.5%. Most subjects (90%) had poor knowledge of what makes a good sunscreen and most (82.5%) used it inappropriately. Conclusion: While many knew about sunscreen, only a small fraction got the information early which is vital for commencement of skin protection early, hence forestalling damage. Doctors were found to be important source of information about sunscreen, although many subjects used it inappropriately.

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