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The numbers are alarming. Skin cancer rates over the past decade have risen more than 55 percent for men, and there are 62,260 expected melanoma cases in American men in 2021 alone. Yet, by and large, most men still don’t wear sunscreen. A recent study found that just 14 percent of men use sunscreen on both their face and other exposed skin when outside on a sunny day for more than an hour. It’s a shockingly low figure, seeing as men under the age of 40 are 55 percent more likely to die of melanoma than women.

The good news is regular daily use of sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher reduces the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent. So we made it our mission to understand why guys aren't using sunscreen and, ultimately, to develop an SPF line that makes sun protection easier for them. We surveyed guys to find out what products they would ideally want and to test their knowledge about daily sunscreen use. They made it clear that SPF was something they knew about, but generally didn’t put on for a number of reasons. Among the aversions and gripes were a series of misconceptions, so we wanted to set the record straight. 

Here are the 5 most common questions we heard about using SPF along with the myths we heard alongside them.

Do you really need to apply sunscreen daily?

Myth: “I only need SPF if I’m at the beach.”

Answer: You don’t have to be sunbathing for skin damage to set in. UV exposure happens year-round, even on cloudy days and through windows when you're indoors. While you might not think about these daily instances of UV exposure, their damage is cumulative and increases your skin cancer risk over time, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. On a related note, if you've ever heard that occasional UV exposure helps to develop the skin’s melatonin defenses, that's another misconception. 

Protecting your skin daily doesn't have to be a nuisance. If you want easy skin protection without adding an extra step to your routine, replace your everyday face moisturizer with one that has SPF like our Everyday Anti-Aging Face Moisturizer with SPF 37. It absorbs quickly and leaves your skin smooth, so you’ll feel great and stay protected before you even walk out the door.

Do you need sunscreen when you are driving?

Myth: “I spend most of my time inside or driving. I don't need to wear SPF every day.”

Answer: UVA rays can penetrate the windows of a building or car, and they've been proven to contribute to skin cancer development. For many years scientists only believed UVB rays were dangerous for the skin. We now understand that UVA rays are as well. What's more, UVA rays represent "95 percent of the UV radiation that reaches the earth and maintain the same level of strength during daylight hours throughout the year."

So yes, you need to wear sunscreen even while you're driving or indoors, and you always want to use one that offers Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection.

How often should you reapply sunscreen?

Myth: "If I use a sunscreen with high SPF, I only need to apply it once a day. The higher the SPF, the more UV rays it blocks."

Answer: Many people use sunscreen with too low of an SPF for their skin or don't apply it as frequently as needed. The number of SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, actually measures how long you can stay in the sun before your skin begins to burn. Finding this exact number requires a bit of math. You multiply the number of minutes it would take for your skin to turn pink without sun protection by the number SPF you’re using. The resulting number is how long your SPF will last, in minutes.

Let’s say you typically burn after 10 minutes of sun exposure with no protection and you’re wearing an SPF 30. That will give you 300 minutes—or 5 hours—of sun protection before you need to reapply. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends an SPF 30 or higher to provide adequate protection. 

Swimming and sweating are other factors to consider. If those activities are a possibility in your day, you'll want to use a water and sweat-resistant SPF. Sunscreens that don't explicitly call out that feature will become less effective when exposed to water. Make note: Water and sweat-resistant sunscreens will tell you the number of minutes that their SPF remains effective through water and sweat. Make sure you reapply within that time frame.

To maximize your time in the sun, we made our Hydrating Antioxidant SPF 50 Spray. It’s a long-lasting, water and sweat-resistant formula that’s packed with vitamins that help fight cancer-causing free radicals.

Is it harmful to wear sunscreen every day?

Myth: "All sunscreen has lots of chemicals in it. It can't be good for my skin or the environment."

Answer: There's a wide spectrum of sunscreens out there, and it's true that many options contain chemicals that we wouldn't advise using on your skin. But there have been great advances in sunscreen technology and companies (like us!) dedicated to creating options that are safe to use every day.

All of the products in our SPF Essentials line are free of chemicals that, for a variety of reasons, we advise avoiding in your skincare and sunscreen. For example, we do not include Octinoxate or Oxybenzone, both of which are in many conventional sunscreens and are currently being researched by the FDA to determine if they can be deemed “generally recognized as safe and effective.” Our sunscreen spray comes in a non-aerosol can (so we can avoid the chemicals needed for aerosol propulsion) and uses less alcohol than conventional sunscreen sprays so it's less drying for the skin. All of our SPF products are made with ingredients that are reef-safe. 

Do you need sunscreen if you don’t burn easily?

Myth: “I don't burn, so I don't need to wear SPF.”

Answer: Although some skin types are more prone to burn, UVA and UVB rays can damage any kind of skin. Not only is there  a risk of developing melanoma in darker skin, but one study cited by the Skin Cancer Foundation found that melanoma in persons of color is often diagnosed at a later stage and thus commonly results in a worse prognosis. Another found an average five-year melanoma survival rate of just 67 percent in Black people, while white people were at 92 percent.

To suit all skin tones, we developed our Go Stick Clear Sunscreen. It comes in a handy stick and goes on totally invisible, so you don’t have to worry about white streaks.

Your Daily Sunscreen Routine

When it comes to sun damage and skin cancer, knowledge is power. Forming a daily sunscreen routine goes a long way towards reducing your risk factors and protecting your health. If you want help figuring out the best products to fit sunscreen into your daily routine, we're here for you. Reach out anytime at hi@oarsandalps.com.

 

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