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Suncare Sundays: The Cost of Sunburn

Did you know? The average cost of treating a sunburn is $1132. On this Suncare Sunday: The Cost of Sunburn, we share newly published data from a nationally representative cross-sectional retrospective analysis of the National Emergency Department Sample (NEDS, 2013–2015). Trends in emergency department visits for sunburn show:

    • 82K visits for sunburn.
    • 20% for severe sunburns (80% were first degree burns)
    • 50% were women, age 18-29 in low income, small metropolitan regions
    • Highest rates of sunburn were during the summer, on weekdays
    • Estimated annual cost of care for sunburn ED visits: $22M

Prevention is essential!

In the U.S., around 34 percent of adults and 43 percent of children report getting one or more sunburns each year. Characterizing the national burden of ED visits due to sunburn is important to developing interventions aimed at reducing costs to the US healthcare system, critical to which is integrating interventions to improve safe sun behavior including sunscreen use and other preventive measures.  To learn more about trends in emergency department visits due to sunburn, see the infographic below.

Cost of Sunburn

We encourage all healthcare practitioners to download, print and display this infographic in waiting areas and exam rooms, and share with patients.

For additional resources and products that can help you promote sun-safe behavior in your patients, visit

Access to 2 recent JDD CME podcasts below:

Science of Sun Protection

Understanding & Changing Patient Behavior


    1. Tripathi, R., Mazmudar, R.S., Knusel, K.D. et al. Trends in emergency department visits due to sunburn and factors associated with severe sunburns in the United States. Arch Dermatol Res 313, 79–88 (2021).

Note: NEDS is produced using data from over 950 hospitals nationally; it accounts for over 140 million ED visits annually when weighted, and is the largest all payer database of ED visits in the US.

Did you enjoy this article? Find more on sun protection here.

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