Thursday, 15 September 2011 14:40

Survey Says: Men Reluctant to Use Sunscreen

Written by   Dr. Ananya Mandal, M.D.

A new survey claims that less than half of men use sunscreen of at least factor 15 to protect their skin from damage. The poll of 2,000 people commissioned by Cancer Research UK found 90 percent said they had suffered sunburn. But only 47 percent of men used at least SPF 15. This was compared to two thirds of women using sunscreen of at least factor 15. Men were also less likely than women to protect their skin in other ways – like spending time in the shade or covering up with clothing.

The YouGov survey revealed that nearly all Britons (96 percent) were aware that getting sunburnt increase the risk of skin cancer. 

Every year around 400 men from Yorkshire are diagnosed with malignant melanoma and around 490 women. The survey showed one in five Britons often did not plan for the weather and got caught without protection if it was sunny. More than a fifth wanted to be tanned.

Caroline Cerny, Cancer Research UK’s SunSmart campaign manager, said, “These results indicate that men seem to be worse than women at protecting their skin in the sun. Traditionally it’s been women who want to sport a suntan but this survey suggests men crave this look as well but are forgetting to protect their skin. Sunburn is a sign that the DNA in your skin has been damaged and people know that getting sunburn can increase the risk of skin cancer but many don’t bother to protect their skin from burning.”

Over the last 25 years in Britain, rates of malignant melanoma – the most serious form of skin cancer – have risen faster than any of the most common cancers in men and women. Despite more women being diagnosed with melanoma, more men die from the disease.

Public Health Minister Anne Milton said, “These findings clearly show the importance of men, and women, protecting their skin from sun damage.” Sara Hiom, director of health information at Cancer Research UK, added, “Your skin doesn’t have to be red-raw, peeling or blistering to have sunburn damage. If your skin has gone red in the sun, it’s sunburnt. We all need sunshine for good general health but many cases of melanoma could be prevented if people took more care in the sun. A good way of doing this is to get to know your skin and avoid it going red. The British weather causes a dilemma because we don’t tend to get many sunny summer days, so when it does shine people tend to overdo it, not realizing you can burn even when it’s cool or slightly cloudy. Whether at home or abroad, people should think how to use shade, clothing and sunscreen, applied generously and regularly, to protect themselves.”


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