04 April 2012

Survey shows when it comes to skin health, beauty trumps sun safety

PARSIPPANY, N.J. (April 4, 2012) —The "Listen To Your Skin Campaign" reveals people find skin an important part of attraction, but dangerous misperceptions about skin health prevail.

Are you taking care of one the most appealing parts of your body? A new survey from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and LEO Pharma shows that nearly all respondents (90 percent) said skin can be sexy. Yet while the majority of respondents (58 percent) acknowledged that they may be at risk for sun damage, tanned skin was rated one of the most attractive skin features among those surveyed, but at what cost? According to the AAD, tanned skin is a visible sign of sun damage, and sun damage significantly increases a person’s risk of developing skin cancer.i

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in his or her lifetime.ii  Fortunately, skin cancer is highly curable when caught and treated before it spreads, so early detection is essential.  

To combat this dangerous lack of awareness, the AAD and LEO Pharma have launched Listen To Your Skin, a campaign to educate Americans about the prevalence of sun damage and the lesser-known signs, symptoms, and consequences of overexposure to the sun, including actinic keratosis (AK), a precancerous skin condition affecting 1 in 6 Americans that is often confused with sun spots or age spots.iii  AK can progress to squamous cell carcinoma, the second-most-common type of skin cancer.iv

Board-certified dermatologist Erin Gilbert, MD, PhD, and spokesperson for the AAD, notes: “It’s very important to check your skin for signs and symptoms of sun damage. In addition to moles, persistent skin changes in color and texture, like red, pink, grey or skin-colored patches that are rough or scaly, are often indications of sun damage, and may not be as obvious as a mole. I often tell my patients to have their partner or spouse check their skin regularly for any of these signs.”

Despite the majority of people surveyed (58 percent) believing they are at risk for sun damage, half of them have never checked their own skin or had a medical professional check their skin for sun-damage related skin conditions.

More sun- and skin-related survey findings include:

  • Nearly 9 in 10 Americans have never heard of actinic keratosis, which typically appears as a dry, scaly, rough-textured patch or lesion on sun-exposed areas like the face, neck and scalp, despite it affecting about 1 in 6 people.
  • 59 percent of respondents have never talked to their doctors about how to prevent sun damage or skin cancer.
  • 63 percent of respondents have asked their partners’ opinions on health questions, but only 30 percent have discussed skin appearance with their partners recently.
  • Nearly 6 in 10 respondents spend time outdoors at least a few times per week, but only 14 percent wear sun protection daily.

About the Listen To Your Skin survey

The findings in this study are based on an Internet survey of 1,008 adults aged 25 and older conducted by Public Strategies Inc. The survey included a nationally representative sample of 808 adults and a targeted oversample of 202 adults at high risk for skin cancer — those over age 40 who describe themselves as fair skinned. Interviews were conducted between Jan. 31 and Feb. 7, 2012 and averaged 15 minutes in length.

About the Listen To Your Skin campaign

The AAD and LEO Pharma have partnered to raise awareness about the prevalence of sun damage among Americans and the lesser-known signs, symptoms and consequences of overexposure to the sun, including AK and squamous cell carcinoma. While many Americans are aware of the risk of melanoma, this campaign aims to get Americans to listen to their skin and what it may be telling them about their lifetime sun exposure and possible risk of skin cancer. To find out more about AK, skin cancer and how to listen to your skin, see your dermatologist and visit

About the American Academy of Dermatology

Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 17,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, visit

About LEO Pharma

Founded in 1908, LEO Pharma is a global independent, research-based pharmaceutical company. LEO Pharma is committed to the discovery and development of novel drugs for patients within the areas of dermatology and critical care medicine. LEO Pharma employs more than 3,900 people worldwide.  For more information about LEO Pharma, visit

iAAD Sunscreen Facts.  Accessed March 13, 2012.  /media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sunscreens/sunscreens
ii“What is Skin Cancer.” SkinCancerNet. American Academy of Dermatology. Accessed on January 20, 2012.
iiiLewin Group. Burden of Skin Diseases. 2005. Prepared for The Society for Investigative Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology Association. Accessed November 21, 2011.
iv“Squamous Cell Carcinoma.” The Skin Cancer Foundation. Accessed December 1, 2011.