Should we be wearing more sunscreen?

Published May 15, 2019

Too much sun exposure can have serious consequences and skin cancer can be deadly. However, only 35% of people say they wear the highest SPF available, despite 76% of them knowing that they can still get a tan when wearing a higher SPF.1

Skin cancer infographic

Transcript for Should We Be Wearing More Sunscreen infographic

More than 10 million commercially insured people had skin cancer in 2017. Skin cancer was more common in women. 5 out of 100 had it. But skin cancer was 48 percent more costly for men. Most Americans believe skin cancer is most common in the South, but rates are highest in Arizona, Colorado, and on the East coast. Melanoma continues to be an unlikely killer. This relatively rare but often terminal type of skin cancer is on the rise. Diagnoses went up 8 percent from 2014 through 2017. After age 55, melanoma rates more than double for men. 15 members per 10,000 age 45 to 54 have it while 34 members per 10,000 age 55 and older have it. Tans are still trendy though and millennials engage in risky behavior in order to get a tan. 31 percent still use tanning beds to get a baseline tan, 53 percent believe a tan makes a person look healthy, and 58 percent think a tan makes a person look more attractive. The majority of Americans (68 percent) know that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. However, only 42 percent of people put sunscreen on the parts of their body exposed to the sun. Take measures to protect your skin: 1. Go easy on the eyes. Wear a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses to block UV rays. 2. Play it cool. Sunlight and tanning beds contain ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Limit exposure to avoid serious long term skin damage. 3. Don't skimp on the SPF. No sunscreen blocks 100 percent of UV rays. Use SPF 30+ broad spectrum protection and reapply at least every 2 hours.

  1. IPSOS Public Affairs e-Nation survey conducted May 9, 2019 on behalf of The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. N= 1,003 nationally representative sample of adults over the age of 18.

This BCBS study examines U.S. commercially insured members diagnosed with skin cancer and melanoma from 2014-2017 and uses the breadth and depth of data available through the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index.SM All tips and advice here are recommended by the American Cancer Society, providing an overview of skin cancer prevention and early detection.

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