THREE outdoors-loving friends are on a mission to get men protected from skin cancer by launching their own skin care product.

LifeJacket Skin Protection, manufactured in Poole, is a lightweight, water-resistant skin protection product.

It is the creation of three friends in their 30s – Billly Boulos, Rob Sumner and Jono Sumner.

Jono Sumner said: “Like everyone else, I thought I was invincible until I was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 34. It was a real wake-up call.”

He decided to help other men protect themselves from skin cancer, the most easily preventable cancer.

Men in the UK are twice as likely to develop skin cancer as women. Male skin cancer cases have exploded over the past 20 years and are forecast to double over the next 20 – largely because men are not protecting their skin when outdoors or not applying protection all year.

Billy Boulos said: “We have created products that look and feel good to encourage more men to protect their skin every day.

“We feel men have been left behind in the skin protection market. All the advertising features female, bikini-clad bodies or happy kids in the sun. Men aren’t included.

“Women’s media has been educating their readers on skin protection for decades, male media has ignored the issue. Nor do men have high protection SPF (sun protection factor) everyday moisturisers.

“Over 70 per cent of men are put off from using sun protection because it’s too greasy, heavy, perfumed or aimed at women. We’re here to change that and have developed a range from a simple daily SPF moisturiser for everyday use, to high-performance skin protection for extended use on land and water.”

The business is teaming with the charity Melanoma UK to tackle the rise in male skin cancers during Skin Cancer Awareness Month in May.

Using the hashtag #ThinkAboutIt, the campaign will encourage men to protect and check their skin more regularly.

The campaign was devised by Bournemouth-based communications agency Fridays At Nine, with production by Itch Media and an educational PR drive by JellyRock PR, also based in Bournemouth.

It features professional sportsmen including British champion wakeboarders Luke and Ryan Peacock, as well as GB Paralympic cyclists Jaco van Gass and Jon Gildea and cycling commentator Brian Smith - all LifeJacket brand ambassadors.

From May 1, every online purchase of LifeJacket’s skincare and clothing products will give customers with an access code for free, instant and unlimited skin checks with an AI phone app.

Fridays at Nine founder Chris Cardew said: “#ThinkAboutIt is about disrupting the ignorance around skin cancer, making guys stop and listen, and arming them with the knowledge of the risks and how they can reduce them. Skin cancer is largely preventable and so stopping to #ThinkAboutIt and take simple steps can save lives.”