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Prime lobster: why won't men wear sunscreen?

August 27th 2013 / Anna Hunter


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David Cameron is a prime example of our nation of suncream-shy men, writes Anna Hunter

We Brits have all been there. We bumble down to the beach, set up camp, and if there’s even a hint of sunshine, we peel off our outer layers and give our pallid limbs an airing. Our 99 is melting, our beers aren’t as cool as we’d like, but hey, we’re in Bournemouth/ Brighton/ Bognor Regis. How hot can it be? Actually, as we’ve gently suggested previously, that big fireball in the sky stops burning for no one. Not even you, David Cameron…

You may have spied some recent sneaky pap shots of DC flapping about with his Mickey Mouse towel on a Cornish beach. It’s not actually the towel that’s at issue here (debateable), but more his red raw sunburnt shoulders and chest. Our PM clearly hasn’t been paying much heed to a feature written by our very own Judy Johnson earlier this week that revealed the findings of new research by Cancer UK.

MORE GLOSS: The best sun cream for sensitive skin

According to data, men are 70% more likely to die from skin cancer than women, and although studies are continuing to determine whether there is a biological reason for this, it is currently thought that men’s more ‘laissez faire’ attitude towards sun care, checking moles and visiting their GP is to blame for the alarming figures. We’ll let Mr Cameron off for not having read GTG’s news story; he is on a family holiday after all, however just because you’re in Blighty or enjoying a break from the daily grind doesn’t mean that you can disregard your dermatological duties.

MORE GLOSS: Why sun cream is the best anti-ageing product around

We have a sneaky suspicion that a lot of men are simply having a bit too much fun in the sun to remember to shield themselves against it. In addition, anecdotal evidence reveals that many men don’t like the texture of suncreams or the tedium of rubbing them in for what seems like hours. Facial sunscreens have often been blamed for aggravating acne, irritating sensitive skins and stinging eyes during sports. Hairy legs and backs don’t make for smooth application, and doesn’t it all wash off after a surfing session anyway? Okay boys, we can understand your reluctance, and we’re here to make your sun protection protocol less of a pain, and more of a picnic. You may even enjoy using the below products. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone, but your healthy, glowing-in-a-good-way complexion may give it away.

Our picks for body

(All offer full UVA and UVB protection)

Ultrasun Sports 20

from £16, www.ultrasun.co.uk

This sunscreen brand has gained a cult following amongst beauty editors, dermatologists and sportsmen alike thanks to its long-lasting high protection and clear, non-greasy consistency. It’s a great performer in the water and free of perfume, mess and fuss. It’s especially suitable for use on the scalp and ideal for those with thinning or receding hair.


Nivea Protect & Refresh Invisible Cooling Mist SPF 20

£11, shop.nivea.co.uk

Like a cool breeze on a scorching day, this refreshing sunscreen will be a more than welcome addition to your summer holiday. You won’t struggle remembering to reapply this one; we promise that you will actively want to. A 360° spray nozzle ensures that you have all nooks and crannies covered and the light lotion is quickly absorbed leaving no ugly white marks.


Piz Buin Wet Skin Transparent Sun Spray SPF 30

£17.99, www.boots.com

Watersports addicts listen up - this sunscreen can be applied directly to wet skin with no slippage or compromised protection. It cuts through water to absorb directly into the skin, leaving you with no more excuses for water baby burn. Hydrating, nourishing and packed with vitamin E, this silky spritz can also be applied to dry skin.


Our picks for face

(All offer full UVA and UVB protection)

Kiehls Ultra Light Daily Moisturiser SPF 50

£21.50, www.kiehls.co.uk

With pleasingly unisex packaging, this lightweight moisturiser is oil-free and offers broad-spectrum protection that’s safe for sensitive types. On a cosmetic note, it keeps wrinkles and dark spots at bay. Winner.


Obagi Nu Derm Sunshield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Available from approved dermatologists and physicians worldwide. See obagi.com for local stockists

This is Dr Sam Bunting’s favourite sunscreen, and by proxy ours too. Severe acne sufferers have reported great results after using this sheer, non-comedogenic mattifying miracle.


La Roche Posay Anthelios Dry Touch Gel Cream 50+ Dry Touch Gel-Cream

£16.50, www.boots.com

With no nasties and featuring ultra high UVA and UVB protection, this velvety gel-cream is perfect for sensitive, oily and combination skins, and a godsend if you have a beard (gels don’t cause nearly as much sticky havoc as thick creams). It absorbs immediately leaving not a hint of shine, grease or ghostly whiteness. It’s your secret weapon against sebum and the sun.


Our picks for aftercare

Aloe vera gel. This cannot be emphasised enough. A gel will penetrate, soothe and cool the skin quicker than a cream. Ambre Solaire Aloe Vera Gel After Sun, £4.74, is a wallet-friendly option that will keep the burn at bay and minimise redness if you’ve done a David.


Plus, try Clinique for Men Non-Streak Bronzer, £17.50. We know you crave that beach bronzed look as much as we do. Here you go. We won’t tell your mates.


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