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Nearly Half of Men in U.S. Don't Use Suncreen, Study Finds

Posted: August 6, 2012

Nearly half, or 49%, of men in the U.S. admit to not using sunscreen in the past 12 months and 70% of men don't even know skin cancer's warning signs, a recent survey has revealed.

"These results are especially concerning when we consider that men over age 50 are more than twice as likely as women to develop and die from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer," said Joshua Zeichner, a spokesperson for The Skin Cancer Foundation and assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Reports show that 58% of new invasive melanoma cases diagnosed this year will be men versus 42% in women."

The Skin Cancer Foundation, in partnership with Energizer Holdings, the maker of Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic brand sunscreens, conducted the survey, which also revealed that men typically do not follow recommended sunscreen usage guidelines. The vast majority of male sunscreen users, 79%, are not aware that the recommended amount of sunscreen to use per application is one ounce. A significant majority of men, 61%, mistakenly believe that one sunscreen application protects skin for at least four hours, even though the recommended reapplication is every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. Only 32% of men consider themselves extremely or very knowledgeable about how to properly use sunscreen to get adequate protection. Additionally, nearly two-thirds, 64%, of men believe (or are unsure if) women need more sunscreen than they do, because of their misconception that female skin is more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

In addition, the survey revealed that 85% of men are dangerously unaware that they are more likely to die of melanoma than women. Also noted, 70% of male respondents admit they don't know how to perform a skin cancer self-exam or what to look for. More than half, 57%, of respondents stated they are unlikely to see a medical professional for a skin exam. And only about one in four men, 26%, realize that the chest and back are the most common places on the body that men develop melanoma.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone adopt a complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade between 10am and 4pm, covering up with clothing (including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses) and wearing sunscreen every day. When asked, nearly a quarter of male respondents, 22%, said they would consider using sun protection in the future if they learned they were at high risk for skin cancer. Across the board, there is a need to simplify sun education messaging. According to the survey, less than one third, 29%, of male respondents feel confident, or very knowledgeable, about what to look for or how to choose sunscreens.  

For more information about sun protection and skin cancer prevention, visit www.SkinCancer.org.