Ultimate Guide to Sunscreen for Men
Whether you like it or not, you should probably wear sunscreen more than just while at the beach or lounging by the pool. We’re talking about even when you’re outside doing yard work, driving around, or just sitting by a window for an extended period of time. Why? Because you’re at risk of getting skin cancer.
Yet, despite all the research, men refuse to wear sunscreen. Maybe it’s because we think that wearing sunscreen makes us less manly. But according to a recent study, about “1 in 2 men surveyed said they had not applied sunscreen in the past 12 months, and only 32 percent considered themselves very knowledgeable about how to properly use it.” The same study also stated that “two-thirds of men surveyed thought women needed sunscreen more because female skin is more sensitive to UV rays,” which is, of course, not true.
Since men are exposed to the sun more than women and apparently don’t realize the benefits of protecting their skins, here’s our guide to purchasing and wearing sunscreen so that you can protect yourself properly. And remember, there’s no shame in rocking sunscreen. It’s a lot better than getting cancer or having your skin age faster than it should.
How Does Sunscreen Protect You?
Since the chemicals in sunscreen absorb or reflect the harmful rays of the sun, there are less UVB rays (responsible for causing sunburns) and UVA rays (contributes to sunburn, skin cancer, and skin aging) directly hitting your skin. But, does that also mean that this will prevent cancer?
Well, yes. According to a study in Australia, participants who had been applying sunscreen for the last decade had less melanoma. Actually, this should be common sense.
What Chemicals are in Sunscreen? And, are they safe?
Most sunscreens contain: Avobenzone, Cinoxate, Ecamsule, Menthyl anthranilate, Octyl methoxycinnamate, Octyl salicylate, Oxybenzone, Sulisobenzone, Titanium dioxide, and Zinc oxide.
Not only has the FDA found these ingredients safe, they’re also endorsed by the American Academy of Dermatology. While zinc nanoparticles could kill colon cells when ingested, it would take an awful lot of swallowing sunscreen for that to matter. So, no worries about any of these chemicals harming you.
What SPF Should I Use?
Any over-the-counter sunscreens that protect you against UVB and UVA rays with SPF values of 15 or higher will do the trick. However, there’s no evidence that SPF values over 50 provide any extra protection.
But if there’s one ingredient that you should look for, it’s something called mexoryl. This UVA-blocking compound has been found to degrade less in sunlight than other FDA-approved UVA filters.
How to Apply and Use?
For maximum protection, it’s been recommended that you apply sunscreen on at least a half an hour before going outside. You should also apply it every two hours, but more often if you’re sweating or swimming. You also need to apply it thoroughly and use about one to two ounces for an effective amount, or roughly the amount equal to a shot glass.
Remember, even if you purchase a brand that claims it is water- and sweat-proof, all sunscreens begin to lose effectiveness after getting wet.
Don’t Neglect Any Parts of Your Body
You may not realize it but there are a lot of parts of your body that you’re bound to forget about. Besides your face, arms, chest, and back, make sure to apply sunscreen to your hands, underneath your eyes, ears, lips, scalp, and the top of your feet. If you need some suggestions for sunscreens for these specific areas, check out some suggestions from Men’s Health. Also, make sure to spend the extra cash for a pair of UV-blocking brand of shades for your eyes.
Clothing For Added Protection
Just because you’re wearing clothing doesn’t mean that you’re completely safe. A t-shirt, for example, has a mere SPF value of about 5, which is essentially nothing. If you don’t want to wear sunscreen under your clothing then you can always get clothing with built-in SPF, or add a laundry aid like SunGuard into your wash, which can increase clothing’s SPF to 30.
As for other clothing, a broad-brimmed hat can definitely protect the top of your head. But make sure it’s not a mesh cap, since sunlight can still get though.