Hanging out in the sun without wearing sunscreen is all fun, games, and tan lines until you get one of the worst sunburns of your life. The response to a terrible sunburn isn’t unfamiliar for men who have lived with active addiction or alcoholism: I’ll never do this again. Promises are made to be more diligent about skin protection, yet the next time a fun in the sun opportunity arises, even more familiar thoughts come about: It wasn’t that bad. It probably won’t be that bad again. I’ll manage it better this time. Sunburns may be avoided for a while. Eventually, the next terrible sunburn takes place, quickly followed by shameful remorse and another declaration to never go without sunscreen again.
Principle is not the matter when it comes to sun protection, skin cancer is. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “…a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns.” Only five times of being ignorant and not putting on sunscreen can cause a serious risk to your ability to have fun in the sun for the rest of your life.
“Men age 49 and under have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer,” the foundation states. Between the ages of 15 to 39, men are more than twice as likely to die of melanoma, reports The Cut. Melanoma diagnoses primarily are given to men; specifically, white men over the age of 55, the foundation cites. One in 27 white men will develop melanoma in their lifetime. Cutting the chance of developing melanoma is not hard to do. Using SPF-15 every single day reduces the risk by 50 percent. Yet, many men are hesitant to lather up and protect their skin from the sun.
Sociologist Lisa Wade spoke with The Cut about why men are hesitant to wear sunscreen. “Sunscreen is a category of lotion and so putting on sunscreen is equivalent to admitting you’re the sun’s [expletive],” she explained. The association of “girl stuff” to sunscreen can make men feel as though they have to stake a claim in their masculinity by not wearing sunscreen. As a result, melanoma can take more than 6,000 men’s lives per year.
How To Protect Your Skin
Putting on a daily SPF moisturizer is just one of the many ways you can take measures to protect your skin from sun exposure. You don’t have to cover up and spend your life hiding in doors because you’re a man. You do have to be responsible for your health inside and outside of your body. Here are some other ways to protect your skin:
- Wear hats that cover your face, as well as the front and back of your neck
- Wear bandanas around your neck
- For longer periods in the sun, use long lasting sun-screens
- Look for sun protective clothing from your favorite activewear and outdoor clothing companies. You can find shirts, shorts, and pants that have up to SPF-50 protection against UV rays.
- Protect the planet while you protect yourself- opt for mineral based sunscreens when you are interacting with the environment, especially the ocean. Certain chemicals in sunscreens are linked to the progressive death of coral around the world.
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