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Here are the Top Five Reasons why Applying Sunscreen Should be a Daily Habit Year Round

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According to a new survey from RealSelf, only 10 percent of adults in the U.S. wear sunscreen every day, and almost half (47 percent) of Americans never wear sunscreen.

  • Only 10% of U.S. adults use sunscreen daily, and almost half (47%) never wear sunscreen
  • Women are significantly more likely than men to wear sunscreen on a daily basis (15% vs. 4% of men) 
  • Men are significantly more likely than women to always or almost always reapply sunscreen when they wear it (34% vs. 25% of women) 
  • Among Americans who wear sunscreen at least one day a week, more than nine in 10 (93%) apply it to their face. The second most popular body area is the neck (74%), followed closely by the arms (73%)
  • The top excuses for not wearing sunscreen are not being exposed to the sun enough (56%) and having skin that doesn't burn easily (25%) 
  • The top motivations for using sunscreen are preventing skin cancer (74%), preventing sunburn (48%) and preventing the look of aging skin (46%) 
  • Men are significantly more likely than women to get an annual skin check (36% vs. 27% of women)

Just over half (53 percent) of Americans wear sunscreen at least one day a week, and among those, more than nine in 10 (93 percent) apply it to their face. 

Top Excuse for Not Wearing Sunscreen: "I'm Not Exposed to the Sun"

Among the 47 percent of Americans who never wear sunscreen, more than half (56 percent) believe they don't get enough sun exposure to need sunscreen. Other top reasons for not wearing sunscreen include having skin that doesn't burn easily (25 percent) and not liking how sunscreen feels on the skin (18 percent). 

Top Reasons for Not Wearing Sunscreen

Total

%

Women

%

Men

%

I don't think I'm exposed to the sun enough

56%

56%

56%

My skin doesn't burn easily

25%

22%

27%

I don't like how it feels on my skin

18%

18%

18%

I'm too busy

5%

3%

6%

I want to but forget

13%

16%

10%

It's too expensive

7%

7%

6%

I can't find a product that I like

4%

4%

4%

It interferes with my skincare or makeup routine

2%

4%

1%

Other

10%

11%

9%

Source: RealSelf.com, 2019 RealSelf Sun Safety Report

 

When combining the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th reasons from the chart above - I don’t’ like how it feels on my skin 18%, I’m too busy 5%, I want to but forget 13%, I can’t find a product that I like 4% and it interferes with my skincare routine 2%, a total of 42% of Americans are not using sunscreen because 'they have not found the right sunscreen, they are too busy or they forget". Imagine 42% of Americans not wearing deodorant, using soap or toothpaste on a daily basis! 

Motivations for Sunscreen Use: Prevent Skin Cancer, Sunburn and the Look of Aging Skin

Among those who do use sunscreen, the main motivations are to prevent skin cancer (74 percent), prevent sunburn (48 percent) and prevent the appearance of aging skin (46 percent). Adults ages 35 and older are significantly more likely than adults under the age of 34 to say preventing skin cancer is a main motivation for wearing sunscreen (79 percent vs. 63 percent). 

Women are significantly more likely than men to say preventing the look of aging skin is a main motivation (55 percent vs. 33 percent), and they are also more likely to be motivated by sunspot prevention (44 percent vs. 33 percent for men). More than half of men (52 percent) say preventing the look or feel of a sunburn is a main motivation, compared to only 45 percent of women.

Top Motivations for Wearing Sunscreen

Total

%

Women

%

Men

%

To help prevent skin cancer

74%

72%

77%

Prevent the look or feel of sunburn

48%

45%

52%

To help prevent the appearance of aging skin

46%

55%

33%

To help prevent sunspots on skin

39%

44%

33%

Other

1%

1%

1%

Source: RealSelf.com, 2019 RealSelf Sun Safety Report

 

Why You Should Always Wear Sunscreen, Even on Cloudy Days Up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays can pass through clouds, so if you assume it’s OK to forgo protection on an overcast day, think again. Sunscreen is an important preventative health care habit that should be maintained all year, including the winter months. Snow can reflect up to 80 percent of ultraviolet (UV) rays, increasing your risk of exposure to sun damage. Also, the higher the altitude, the greater the UV exposure, so sunscreen is crucial for family ski vacations, too. Always wear sunscreen!

Here are the top five reasons why applying sunscreen should be a daily habit year round:

  • It Protects Your Skin from UV Rays: The depletion of the ozone layer has increased our risk of sun damage from harmful UV rays. Sunscreen blocks these rays, greatly reducing the likelihood of sunburn. For full body coverage you’ll want to apply about an ounce.
  • It Lowers Your Skin Cancer Risk: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 71,943 people were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin in 2013, and 9,394 of these cases were fatal. By applying sunscreen each day, you cut your risk of contracting skin cancers in half.
  • It Prevents Premature Aging of the Skin: Sun damage from UV rays causes photoaging of the skin, which is characterized by a thick, leathery look; discoloration; and a breakdown of collagen, which contributes to lines, sagging and wrinkles. Studies show that those below age 55 who apply sunscreen regularly have 24 percent less chance of developing these signs of aging than those who don’t.
  • It Helps Maintain an Even Skin Tone: Sunscreen helps prevent discoloration and dark spots from sun damage, helping you maintain a smoother and more even skin tone.
  • Your Chances of Skin Cancer are Higher if Your Hair is Red: Scientists used to think the reason for this increased risk was due to the fair skin tone of redheads. In 2013, however, researchers discovered the MC1R gene mutation which creates red hair and fair skin. This mutation also creates a cancer causing pathway which, when exposed to UV radiation, promotes a genetic propensity towards cancer.

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