The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, provided some disappointing findings, including the fact that only 43 percent of women “regularly use sunscreen on their face” and only 34 percent reported putting it on all exposed skin. Truth bomb: You should be wearing sunscreen on all exposed skin at all times (even if you’re not spending a lot of time outside).
At least women are better than men when it comes to putting on sunblock. The study found that 40 percent of men never put sunscreen on their faces (compared to 27 percent of women). Of those men, non-Hispanic blacks with low incomes made up the majority. And out of both genders, 40 percent of those questioned weren’t sure if the sunscreen they put on had broad-spectrum protection, which protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.
We asked Darrell S. Rigel, a clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center, to help us decipher the results.
Why do you think sunscreen use is the lowest among men who are non-Hispanic blacks? “I would say because these groups have a low risk of skin
cancer, they may think they have no risk at all, which is not true.”
Why do people need to be sure their sunscreen has broad-spectrum protection rather than just a high SPF? “The sun’s ultraviolet radiation is made up of UVA and UVB rays. SPF solely measures UVB protection. In order for a sunscreen to be broad-spectrum and protect you from the sun, you also need to measure UVA protection. High SPF does not mean broad-spectrum, which is why you need to be careful when looking at labels.”
Aside from the face, where is the next most common place where melanoma develops? “The most common site for men is the back, and for women it is the legs.”
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