New Survey Reveals Gender Divide Surrounding Skin Cancer Awareness and Prevention

Leading into the first day of summer, The Skin Cancer Foundation highlights the need for increased sun protection education among men 

SHELTON, Conn. (June 20, 2012) —The Skin Cancer Foundation, in partnership with the makers of Banana Boat® and Hawaiian Tropic® brand sunscreens, has issued the results of a survey highlighting a dramatic gender divide in awareness about skin cancer preventative measures. The survey results reveal that nearly half (49%) of men in the US admit to not using sunscreen in the past 12 months and an alarming 70 percent of men don’t even know what skin cancer warning signs to look for. In almost every case, men prove to be less knowledgeable than women about the proper methods to protect themselves against sun exposure and skin cancer.

“These results are especially concerning when we consider that men over age 50 are more than twice as likely as women to develop and die from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer,” said Joshua Zeichner, MD, a spokesperson for The Skin Cancer Foundation and Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. “Reports show that 58 percent of new invasive melanoma cases diagnosed this year will be men versus 42 percent in women.” 

Men and Sunscreen Use

The survey also revealed that men typically do not follow recommended sunscreen usage guidelines. For example:

  • The vast majority of male sunscreen users (79%) are not aware that the recommended amount of sunscreen to use per application is one ounce. 
  • A significant majority of men (61%) mistakenly believe that one sunscreen application protects skin for at least 4 hours, even though the recommended reapplication is every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Only 32 percent of men consider themselves extremely or very knowledgeable about how to properly use sunscreen to get adequate protection.  

Additionally, nearly two-thirds (64%) of men believe (or are unsure if) women need more sunscreen than they do, because of their misconception that female skin is more sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. 

Men and Skin Cancer Awareness

The survey results also showed a lack of skin cancer awareness among men. In fact, 85 percent of men are dangerously unaware that they are more likely to die of melanoma than women. Additional compelling findings about men and skin cancer awareness include:

  • 70 percent of male respondents admit they don’t know how to perform a skin cancer self-exam or what to look for.
  • More than half (57%) of respondents stated they are unlikely to see a medical professional for a skin exam.
  • Only about one in four men (26%) realize that the chest and back are the most common places on the body that men develop melanoma. 

“The survey results confirm what I see in my practice every day – men just aren’t incorporating sun protection into their lives,” said Dr. Zeichner. “The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone adopt a complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade between 10 AM and 4 PM, covering up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, and wearing sunscreen every day. There is an obvious need for increased skin cancer awareness among men, and The Skin Cancer Foundation is actively working to better reach men with sun protection messages.” 

Driving Education

“We know that education is the key,” said Minna Raffin, Director of Banana Boat® and Hawaiian Tropic® brand sunscreens. “When asked, nearly a quarter of male respondents (22%) said they would consider using sun protection in the future if they learned they were at high risk for skin cancer.”

Across the board, there is a need to simplify sun education messaging. According to the survey, less than one third (29%) of male respondents feel confident, or very knowledgeable, about what to look for or how to choose sunscreens.

“We’re working closely with our retail partners to explore at-shelf solutions that educate shoppers and ease confusion when selecting the right sunscreen for themselves or their families,” said Raffin.

Men looking for information about sun protection and skin cancer prevention can visit a number of online educational resources at

In addition, Banana Boat® and Hawaiian Tropic®brand sunscreens provide a simple, sun certification quiz on their brand Facebook, The quiz is designed to breakdown complex sun education information into easy to understand information and advice. 

About The Survey

The TNS survey evaluated several factors related to men and sunscreen including: usage behaviors, outdoor activity, purchase habits, barriers to use, skin care regimen and practices, and more. The survey was fielded online among 1,000 male and female respondents, with a 3-3.5% margin of error. 

About The Skin Cancer Foundation

The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, early detection and treatment of skin cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research. For more information, visit 

About Energizer Personal Care

A leading manufacturer of health and beauty products around the world, Energizer Personal Care is a division of Energizer Holdings Inc. (NYSE: ENR), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. Energizer Personal Care markets products in more than 100 countries worldwide under the Playtex®, Playtex Sport®, Playtex Gentle Glide®, Skintimate® and Schick® brands.  Playtex and all other trademarks are licensed or owned by Energizer or its affiliates. 

About Banana Boat® Brand

The Banana Boat® brand offers a wide range of product options that provide today's busy family with reliable sun protection without worry, so the fun can go on and on.  The advanced technology in Banana Boat® sunscreen products provides effective broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection that won't break down in the sun.  Banana Boat® products have carried The Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation for almost two decades.  

About Hawaiian Tropic® Brand

Founded in 1969, the Hawaiian Tropic® brand is one of the most iconic and best-known sun care brands in the U.S. With a wide range of products including sunscreens, sunless tanning, kids/baby, after sun, sport and lip, Hawaiian Tropic® sunscreens deliver “indulgent sun protection.” All Hawaiian Tropic® sunscreens with SPFs of 15 and higher meet the Food & Drug Administration’s requirements for broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection. Hawaiian Tropic® products have carried The Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation for almost two decades. 

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Media Contact:
Becky Wiley
The Skin Cancer Foundation