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Researcher says Brazil’s sexist culture may affect the use of sunscreen by men

Despite growth in the men’s grooming industry, Brazilian men are still reluctant to use cosmetics and personal care products.

Victor Hugo Pacagnelli Infante, pharmaceutical biochemist at Faculdade de (...)

Victor Hugo Pacagnelli Infante, pharmaceutical biochemist at Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas of Ribeirão Preto

A study conducted by Victor Hugo Pacagnelli Infante, a pharmaceutical biochemist from Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas of Ribeirão Preto, at Universidade de São Paulo (USP), discovered that there is still widespread rejection among young Brazilian men regarding the use of sunscreen. “The use of cosmetics is still culturally associated mostly with women and homosexuals. Brazil’s sexist culture associates any sort of practice that is traditionally seen as feminine as being inferior and less relevant. As such, the use of products that fall into this category end up being neglected,” says Infante.

Although it plays an essential role in preventing skin cancer, the use of sunscreen still faces strong resistance among men, says Infante. “Out of 300 respondents with an average age of 26, more than half (54%) said they do not wear sunscreen. Only 20% of them said they wear it on a daily basis.” The need to reapply sunscreen throughout the day, which is usually done in public places, also holds some men back from using it. “Many respondents said they do not wear sunscreen because it needs to be reapplied in public. Price was never mentioned as something that inhibited the purchase and the sensory experience of one product over the other was only considered a determining factor by those men who already use sunscreen regularly.

Infante also says that Brazilian men in general do not take a prophylactic approach towards their health, a culture that is heavily associated with the use of sunscreen and other skin care products. “Aging is seen differently by men and women, being much more of a concern for women.” Infante collected in his lab 450 images of the skin of the men who participated in the study, which enabled him to assess in real time the skin characteristics of each of them and distinguish between those who wear sunscreen and those who do not wear any skin protection products. “We noticed early photoaging on the skin of the young men who do not use any sun care products,” he said.

Market data – Skin care routines used to be more associated with women, but this trend has been changing, according to ABIHPEC (Brazilian Association of the Cosmetics, Toiletry and Fragrance Industry). ABIHPEC offers data from Euromonitor that confirms the growth curve in this segment, to the tune of 6.1% in 2017 in comparison with the previous year.

In the sun care category, the global market reached $10 billion in 2017, according to figures from Mintel mentioned by ABIHPEC. The data shows Brazil as the second largest consumer market, with an 11% market share, and the second largest consumer of men’s grooming products. “The figures show that Brazilian men are increasingly more open to new products that fall under the category of self-care. However, they still tend to spend no more than 30 minutes a day on their beauty routines,” says ABIHPEC. In light of this, one possible strategy to win over the male audience would be to offer multipurpose products that can be applied easily and quickly.

Sunscreen (photo credit Pixabay)

Sunscreen (photo credit Pixabay)

In comparison with the previous year, the Brazilian market for sunscreen grew by 2.3%, according to ABIHPEC. This may be due to the constant bombardment of information about the negative effects of sun exposure and the visible signs of sun damage on the skin, such as redness, irritation and dryness. “Facial protection against the sun has been growing overall in the domestic market, a direct result of the constant communication of the long-term benefits of wearing sunscreen regularly. Even though Brazilian men still do not have a full skin care routine, the use of sunscreen is seen by many as the main product for preventing the development of lines, wrinkles and dark spots,” says ABIHPEC.

Infante says the purpose of his study is to understand how best to raise awareness among men regarding the importance of wearing sunscreen. “Our study results can work to raise awareness among this group. However, in times of intolerance, anti-academic movements and fake news, even such discoveries can be twisted or ignored.

Infante explains that, while he has reservations regarding gender-segmentation for this product category, the development of male sunscreens could help get men more involved with sun protection. “If men believe that a certain product was developed specifically for them, we may be able to slowly break down the sexist barrier. Even if the product formula does not change to account for the physiological differences between men and women, it bears mentioning that such gender segmentation has happened even with oral care products,” citing the example of the CloseUp White Attraction men’s toothpaste launched in 2016.

Infante’s study, titled “Research and Development of Cosmetics Products for Men Using Essential Oils: Skin Characteristics, Clinical Efficacy, Consumer Profiles and the Influence of Advertising,” won the Albert Kligman Award at the International Society For Biophysics And Imaging of the Skin (ISBS) international congress, held in May 2018 in the U.S.

Amanda Veloso

© 2018 - Brazil Beauty News -

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