What One Survey Reveals About the USA’s Sun Protection and Skin Awareness Habits

Victoria Moorhouse
Getty Images / After All Photography

Getty Images / After All Photography

Here are some things you might have learned about sun protection and applying SPF through the years. It’s essential for every skin tone, it’s not a habit you only take up in the summer, as it’s supposed to be practiced all year long, and doing so lessens your risk for skin cancer and the premature formation of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. While you might have those down, there’s another precautionary element you’re going to want to make a habit—and it’s called skin-checking.

It’s the act of glancing over your skin to spot any abnormal moles, marks, and growths or changes in any preexisting skin demarcations—and it’s the topic of La Roche Posay‘s latest campaign. The brand, known for its Anthelios line of SPF, has launched a campaign (featuring dalmatians and their puppies—it’s real cute, we promise) that urges viewers to become what they call “skin-checkers.” This is obviously making it a point to know what’s going on with your skin, moles, and being generally aware of skin cancer conditions and in very serious cases, melanoma. You can check out the video and all the puppies you’ll probably be oohing and ahhing over below.

Seems like a simple task, right? Well it should be, but a survey that the brand conducted with Ipsos, which featured those ages 15 to 65 in 23 countries, the USA being one of them, revealed that we have some ground to cover. According to the survey, only 38% of those in the USA group self-check their moles (a bit better than the 23-country global average of 33%) and 26% have never self-checked their moles. Another slightly shocking USA statistic from the survey is that 54% have never had a dermatologist check a mole.

MORE: Everything You Need to Know About SPF

That’s not to say that those in the USA surveyed aren’t knowledgeable of what a changing mole could incur. The survey indicated that more than half know that a mole with a rapid changing appearance could indicate a sign of skin cancer. Becoming a regular skin-checker by thoroughly examining your skin with your eyes and a mirror and getting checked out by an expert is one way to make these numbers grow on the positive side. Your dermatologist can let you know if a spot is something to be concerned about or not, easing any frustrations or worries.

Perception of the sun and why we should be lathering up with SPF, wearing sunnies, and being weary of getting burns was another interesting find—in the USA category and globally! Of the USA, 80 percent say they protect themselves at least at times, while 92 percent know that the exposure to the sun can cause health problems.

Protection, of course, comes in the form of SPFs that help to block and shield UVA/UVB rays from doing damage and wearing clothes, hats, and sunglasses that provide coverage. There’s plenty of products out there that fit the bill, based on the personal preference in coverage, ingredients, sensitives, formulas that blend in and don’t leave a white residue, and more.

MORE: 14 Myths About Sunscreen