The greatest concerns of the team behind Singapore’s first men-targeted sun protection campaign is the bo-chap attitude men have towards sun protection. To men, being tanned looks good and a couple of spots don’t matter. Well, that is as long as their partner doesn’t mind.
Ironically, skin cancer may just be the most overlooked disease despite our rising temperatures; the sun never gives a chance for us to forget how our skin prickles under its rays.
Partnering up with the big gun, Singapore Cancer Society and dermatological skincare brand La Roche-Posay, the Cover a Brother ‘EXPOSED!’ campaign was launched by final-year NTU students from Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information to highlight the negligence Singaporean men have towards sun protection.
With skin cancer being the 6th most common cancer among Singaporean men, Cover a Brother gave out free sunscreen and held a lucky draw to encourage men to slap on some sunscreen before heading out.
Cover a Brother Art Director Crystal Toh, 21, told Vulcanpost, “We felt that men are left out because most of the sunscreen products out there are targeted towards women, and their vanity. This campaign is angled towards men to educate them on the healthy aspect of sunscreen.”
“But the challenge is when you are speaking to people from 18 to 25 they are usually not interested in health,” Crystal said.
Although they were well-equipped with an Ultra Violet Skin Imaging System (UVSIS) set up from IDS Clinic, as well as a SkinCeuticals SkinScope LED machine from L’Oreal, it was indeed difficult to persuade the men to come forward to put their skin under the test. Most of them were reluctant or were dragged over by the girlfriend. The Cover a Brother team wishes that male participants can see the importance of sun protection and be more enthusiastic about learning about their skin condition.
The SkinCeuticals SkinScope LED machine is capable of highlighting damage beneath your skin’s surface by detecting the skin’s fluorescence. You might realise skin damages that you can’t yet notice with your naked eyes. This is how UV rays see you; different colour spots on your face will indicate dryness, clogged pores, freckles etc. Cleverly using a GoPro camera, a snapshot of the UV scan can be printed out for your keepsake.
National Servicemen Marcus Chia, 21, who sports tanned skin, admits that he takes the effort to spray on cologne has never thought of using sunscreen daily because he thinks it’s troublesome.
However, it is the older men who seemed more willing to care for their skin; how it looks and what goes on underneath.
Mr Wang Ah Sye, who is 75 years old this year learned about the Cover a Brother event after reading the coverage on local Chinese newspapers. He shared his worries in Mandarin, “I often sleep on the balcony with the sun shining on me. I am afraid that I might get skin cancer so I have come to learn more about it.”
The jovial Mr Wang cracked up and joked that he might die in 4 months time if he doesn’t find out more about skin cancer. He has since gone to as many cancer-related events as there are in Singapore to find out about prevention.
The Singapore National Cancer Centre statistics reveals that there are 1,719 cases of skin cancer in Singaporean men, and 1,381 in women. The Chinese are more susceptible to skin cancer, it being the 6th most common cancer in this race. However, races with naturally darker skin are not immune to skin cancer.
Dr SK Tan, 69, the founder of IDS Clinic has been in the aesthetics arena for close to 30 years and he discourages the idea of obtaining Vitamin D through sun exposure, as there is no way to safely receive UV exposure from the sun while allowing maximal vitamin D synthesis without increasing skin cancer risk.
Dr Tan added, “Instead of exposing oneself to UV to promote Vitamin D synthesis, many authorities advocate the intake of oral Vitamin D supplements to counter any potential Vitamin D deficient.”
Mr Andy See is 44 years old and he only started to take better care of his skin after realising the emergence of freckles and other sun damages on his face. He said, “Nowadays I try to avoid the sun; staying out of the sun by swimming at night and staying in the shade when I can.”
He also mentioned that after checking out the booth at *SCAPE, he will encourage his son and daughter to apply on sunscreen as they grow older.
Find out more about sun protection and cancer prevention at Cover a Brother ‘EXPOSED!’:
1) February 27, 2016 (Saturday)
Venue: Sentosa, 9am – 5pm
Held in partnership with Waikiki 2016, SMU’s annual beach games event (Cover a Brother x SMU Waikiki 2016). Do check out the event to receive a free La Roche-Posay sunscreen and stand a chance to win a grand prize!
2) March 1, 2016 (Tuesday)
Venue: National University of Singapore, 4th Storey Block ADM, AS6 Walkway
10.30am – 4pm