Preventing premature aging isn’t the only reason you should protect your skin from the sun. Men have an increased risk of developing skin cancer and need to take precautions with their skin.
How can you reduce your risk of developing skin cancer? Here is what every man needs to know:
- Men have a higher risk of developing skin cancer due to a combination of biological and behavioral factors.
- The three major types of skin cancer include melanoma, basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.
- Using skin care products that are specifically formulated for a man’s skin is a simple way to reduce your skin cancer risk.
Understand the Danger
One of the best ways to reduce your risk of skin cancer is by understanding why it strikes men more often than women. The short answer is that it is a combination of biological factors and lifestyle choices.
First, men are more likely to work out in the sun for long periods of time. To make matters worse, many men aren’t raised to understand the importance of protecting their skin from the sun.
Second, a man’s skin differs from a woman’s skin in many ways. Our skin is firmer, contains more sebaceous glands and has less fat underneath.
These characteristics are a result of the differences in our sex hormones. Researchers aren’t certain, but there is evidence to suggest that the differences in our hormones and skin make men more susceptible to developing skin cancer.
Researchers are currently examining the role of estrogen and incidences of skin cancer. One theory is that a man’s increased risk to skin cancer is due to lower amounts of estrogen, which scientists believe may enhance sun protection in women (see claim: “This difference between testosterone and estrogen may contribute to disparities in melanoma outcome”).
Wear a Men’s Daily Moisturizer with SPF
Without question, one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of skin cancer is to use a men’s daily moisturizer with SPF on your face and sunscreen anywhere else.
Another benefit to using a men’s moisturizer with SPF is that it will become a daily habit for you. In other words, your face is always protected from UV rays no matter what your day holds.
Wear UPF-Rated Clothes
Sometimes, spending long periods of time in the sun is unavoidable. Whether you’re out in the sun for work or play, it’s important to wear clothing that has been designed and tested for its UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor).
UPF-rated clothing blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Unlike your white cotton shirt, UPF-rated clothing doesn’t allow UV rays to pass through and harm your skin.
This type of clothing can benefit all men, but it’s especially critical for those with pale skin. White males have the highest risk of skin cancer and should consider wearing UPF-rated clothing for added protection.
Check Your Moles Regularly
In addition to checking your moles by yourself once a month, it’s important to get regular skin care checkups. If you have a lot of moles and/or have pale skin, consider getting checked every few months by a doctor.
Routine screenings will significantly decrease your risk of skin cancer. In a typical examination, doctors will check for moles that look suspicious.
They may perform a skin biopsy on any moles that could signal melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma—the three main types of skin cancer.
If you have dark skin, it’s still a good idea to get annual checkups. While it’s true that people of color are less likely to get skin cancer, they are also more likely to die from it because they wait too long to treat it (see claim: Though people of color (POC) are less likely to become afflicted with skin cancer, they are much more likely to die from it due to delay in detection or presentation”).
Stay Out of the Sun During Peak Hours
If possible, stay in the shade between the times of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This window of time is when the sun’s UV rays are at their strongest and your skin is more likely to burn.
Try to schedule all your regular outdoor activities in the early morning or later at night when the sun’s rays aren’t so powerful. Even if it’s a cloudy day, be warned–the sun’s rays can still pierce through clouds and damage your skin.
The same holds true for winter. The sun’s UV rays can pierce through clouds and be reflected by the snow to damage your skin.
Making Your Skin a Priority Starts Now
While we can’t do anything to change our biology, we can significantly reduce our risk of skin cancer by making our skin a priority. The ideal men’s skin care regimen is simple, uncomplicated and will protect your face from the sun’s intense UV rays.
This, along with regular checkups and other sun protection measures, will go a long way in reducing your risk of skin cancer.