Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Aynn Setright


Skin cancer is a deadly disease that kills significantly more men than women every year. At the same time, women are more than twice as likely to apply daily sun protection factor (SPF) than men. This research study explores how key stakeholders within the skin care industry have responded to the data showing increasing disparities between male and female skin cancer rates. To fulfill the objectives of this research study, qualitative data was collected from six semi-structured interviews with adult males between the ages of 18 and 60. The interviews were intentionally designed to engage with the American, adult male’s personal knowledge of skin cancer and elicit perceptions and experiences with skin care and skin protection. Findings indicated that most men were consciously unaware that skin cancer affected them at higher rates that it did women. The findings also demonstrated that men tended to perceive activities and products related to the skin as rooted in aspects of feminine beauty. Because societal standards for men do not historically center on beauty, they do not feel that engaging with skin care products, including skin protection products, is relevant to their everyday life. By increasing visibility of the issue, dismantling harmful gender stereotypes, and conducting further intersectional research, men will be more likely to understand the relevancy of good skin protection behaviors, and institute preventative measures to mitigate their overall risk of dying from skin cancer.

Keywords: Skin cancer, skin care industry, skin protection, gender, masculinity, melanoma, preventative health


Gender and Sexuality | Medicine and Health | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Skin and Connective Tissue Diseases