A guy's guide to sun protection
OK, if you're a "spit nails, no nonsense kind of guy," worrying about a little sunburn might seem ... well, less than manly. But a quick look at some sobering statistics from the Skin Cancer Foundation should change that in a hurry.

  • Skin cancer is the #1 cancer in men over age 50, ahead of prostate, lung and colon cancer.

  • Middle-aged and older men have the poorest track record for performing monthly skin self-exams or regularly visiting a dermatologist. They are the least likely individuals to detect melanoma in its early stages.

  • The majority of people diagnosed with melanoma are white men over age 50.

  • Men over age 40 spend the most time outdoors and have the highest annual exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

Deciphering the SPF Code

What's SPF, you ask? Good question. For many men, the only three-letter abbreviations they're concerned about are MLB, NBA or NFL.

Quite simply, SPF refers to Sun Protection Factor. The higher the number, the more protection a sunscreen formula provides. Here's how the formula is determined: take the minutes to burn without sunscreen, times the SPF number, and that equals your maximum sun exposure time. For example: if you tend to burn after 10 minutes in the sun, an SPF of 15 will allow you roast in the sun for up to 150 minutes without burning.

Lather Up, Guys!

So now that you're on the SPF bandwagon, what sunscreen should you buy? First, look for sunscreens with the Skin Cancer Foundation's Seal of Recommendation. Products carrying this seal have been tested and meet a strict set of criteria set forth by an independent research committee.

Here are eight recommended products that are guy-strong and sun resistant:

  • Aveeno Continuous Protection Active Sunblock Spray SPF 30

  • Banana Boat UltraMist Sport Performance Sunblock Continuous Clear Spray SPF 15 or 30

  • Coppertone SPORT Sunscreen Clear Continuous Spray SPF 30

  • Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Clear Spray Sunscreen SPF 30

  • Jafra Sun Active Sport Family Sunscreen Cream SPF 35

  • Mary Kay Men Moisturizer Sunscreen SPF 25

  • Murad Man Face Defense SPF 15

  • Ocean Potion Suncare Oil Free Cool Dry Touch Sport Sunblock SPF 30

Rules to 'Sun' By

It goes without saying that if you're going to be in the sun, slather on the sunscreen. Here are some additional guidelines:

  • As a rule of thumb, you should apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside.

  • Guys sweat, right? For that reason, you should reapply your sunscreen at least every two hours, and immediately after swimming or heavy activity.

  • Don't skimp on the lotion. The Skin Cancer Foundation says that at least one ounce (about two tablespoons) is needed to cover the entire body surface.

  • Leave no skin area unturned … ahem, uncovered! As facial skin is thin and highly exposed, it is key to apply it liberally, taking special care to include your nose, ears and the back of your neck. Don't forget areas such as your elbows, ankles and feet.

Remember, you don't have to live like a cave dweller to avoid the sun. Just be smart and take the proper precautions to protect yourself.

For more information visit The Skin Cancer Foundation.