Men’s summer skin protection
Summer is all about exposing skin we’ve all been hiding away during the winter months under layers of clothing. 2015 thus far has seen some decent sunshine, with a gorgeous spring leading into what promises to be an even better summer.
However, the beautiful sunny days are not without their dangers. UV light is identified as a significant contributory factor to the development of skin cancer due to its effect on the DNA in skin cells. Unlike other types of light emitted by the sun, UV radiation can’t be seen or felt, but its effects (particularly from UVA/UVB) can be damaging in the long term.
Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers, with malignant melanoma occurring more rapidly than any of the current ten most prevalent forms of cancer in males and females since the mid-1970s, and the biggest demographic represented in melanoma patients are white males aged 50+.
In 2013, Cancer Research UK reported skin cancer death rates as being 70% greater in men than women; data collated by the charity in 2011 showed skin cancer incidence rates as increasing by 57% in men in the previous decade.
Taken into consideration alongside research conducted by US charity Skin Care Foundation, published in an article detailing how men fall short on skin cancer knowledge and protection, it would appear that men are most vulnerable to this type of cancer in adults. Men’s Health put it more bluntly: “Imagine heading out in a thunderstorm with a big, sturdy umbrella—one you’ve just slashed apart with a razor. Madness, right? And yet, that’s how most men approach sun protection: totally half-assed.”
In products containing sunscreen, the SPF provides an indication of the additional protection a product gives when worn in sunlight. A higher SPF extends the length of time it’s safe to stay in the sun before additional application. However, a 2007 study found a discrepancy between this principle of safety afforded by sunscreen; the problem lay in it how it was used, with insufficient coverage due to inadequate amounts of product being applied. Approximately 25ml of sunscreen is appropriate per application, with around a teaspoon for use on the face.
Protecting skin from harmful light has now extended beyond creams and lotions to sunglasses and clothing and affected by factors like caffeine intake (swapping coffee for antioxidant-rich green tea). Although older men are shown as being most affected by skin cancer, protective measures are not limited by age, so taking steps now can assist prevention in later years.
Top sun-protective products
Very high protection face sunscreen SPF 50+, £50, Bakel at Space NK
Cocoa butter formula SPF 15 body lotion with vitamin E , £4.39, Palmer’s at Boots
For Men maca root energetic face protector , £10, The Body Shop
Sunglasses, £190, Oakley at Vision Express
Sun protective clothing, from £25, Rohan