Indiana News

Study Suggests Link Between Beards and Skin Cancer

2/25/2013

If you are a man and have trouble growing a beard, you may be at a higher risk for skin cancer, though a local dermatologist says the increase is not dramatic.

A recent study from Australia suggests men with beards have a lower risk of developing skin cancer over their lifetimes. But while beards do reduce the amount of ultraviolet rays that reach a man's face, Dr. Terry Brogan with St. Vincent Dermatology says a beard can't reduce your skin cancer risk unless you have a thick beard for a long time. "You know, if you had a full, thick beard, it might block out a good portion of the sun's rays," he said. "But there are still other portions of your face that aren't completely covered, like your eyes, your forehead and ears."

Brogan recommends using sunscreen, even with the beard. He says  "Sunscreen lotions you could probably get through the beard.  It also is a problem for men if they have male-pattern hair loss on the crown of their scalp.  Sometimes they have a little residual hair there as well.  Sometimes, the spray-on sunscreens work well for those areas."

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