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CDC Study Shows Most Americans Don't Use Sunscreen

by kelly / May, 27 2015 01:30

Yes it pained me to write that title especially as skin cancer is on the rise and even more so because it has been proven that there is a direct connection between sunscreen and the prevention of skin damage and premature skin aging.  But it's sadly the truth that most Americans don't wear sunblock.  There's even a discussion lately on the internet about sunscreen shaming.  I was so surprised that people were actually being criticized for wearing sunscreen.


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released their findings from a 2013 survey that asked participants how often they use sunscreen when outside in the sun for more than an hour.  Their results indicated that fewer than 30% of woman and less than 15% of men reported using sunblock regularly on their face and other exposed skin when outside for more than an hour!  Those are some sobering statistics, especially for the guys.  


Below are more stats, both interesting and what I found to be alarming, from the study:

  • 42.6% of women and 18.1% of men reported regular sunscreen use on their face
  • 34.4% of women and 19.9% of men reported regular sunscreen use on other exposed skin
  • 27% of women and 43.8% of men never use sunscreen on their face
  • 26.8% of women and 42.1% of men never use sunscreen on other exposed skin

Dawn Holman, MPH, a behavioral scientist at the CDC and the study's lead author said:

“Women may be more likely to use sunscreen on the face because of the anti-aging benefits, or because of the many cosmetic products on the market that contain sunscreen...however, it’s important to protect your whole body from the sun, not just your face.”

Additionally the study also found that many of the participants (40%) were unsure whether their sunscreen provided broad-spectrum protection.  Broad spectrum protection is necessary to protect against both UVA and UVB rays.  Our sun protection products are broad spectrum.

Holman also added that...

"To take advantage of the full protection your sunscreen offers, it should be applied thickly to all exposed skin and reapplied every two hours and after swimming, sweating, and toweling off." And for those that don't like chemicals in sunscreen (we don't either!) "For consumers who have sensitivities to or concerns about ingredients in sunscreens, products that use physical blocks, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, are available."


It seems much more work needs to be done to educate people about the benefits of sunblock and overall sun protection.  Can we also say that sunscreen shaming needs to stop?!  In our opinion and based on the CDC's data and research, it is a must.  That's why at Block Island Organics we'll continue to help provide information, awareness and beat on that sun protection drum.  You can find more tips on how to stay protected in our suncare smarts series and via this awesome infographic below from the CDC.  


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