Sunscreen Slip-ups: Common Areas We Forget to Slather on the SPF

Live Healthy

Head, shoulders, knees and toes … These aren’t just words to a popular song used to teach children the parts of the body; they also are some of the places we make sure are well coated with sunscreen before heading out the door every morning. 

Despite our best intentions, there still are areas that get overlooked – which could lead to an increased risk of skin cancer from cellular damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. 

Here are the body parts people most commonly miss. 

  • Ears – A 2007 study from the Skin Cancer Foundation ranked the ears as the third most frequent location for skin cancers. Cancer can occur on any part of the ear, including the bowl, an area relatively protected from the sun.

  • Eyelids – No one wants a tan line in the middle of their face, but the best way to protect your eyelids is by wearing sunglasses (just be sure they block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays). If you forget your pair or are trying to avoid a raccoon mask, use a moisturizer that contains at least 15 SPF.

  • Lips – Skin cancers of the lip are most frequent in fair-skinned men ages 50 and older, and the lower lip is 12 times more likely to be affected due to its greater exposure to sunlight. Be sure to wear a lip balm that contains SPF and to reapply after eating or drinking.

  • The Tops of Your Feet – Unless you’ve ever suffered sunburn to the tops of your feet, this is probably the last place you’d think to apply sunscreen. However, this area is especially vulnerable to the sun’s rays, as it is directly exposed to the sun when you wear skin-baring shoes like slippers or sandals. Slather up to avoid “lobster feet.”

  • Your Scalp – Much like the tops of your feet, the skin on the top of your head has a front-row seat to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Your hair only offers so much protection; wear a hat, or put on some sunscreen. Make sure there is a layer of coverage actually touching the skin.

Remember to always use a sunscreen that has an SPF rating of at least 30 and is labeled "broad spectrum."

Make sure your sunscreen is equipped to guard against both UVA and UVB rays and that it is free of any chemicals that could harm our ocean ecosystems.

Scientists have found that the chemicals oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene contribute to coral bleaching when washed off in the ocean.

Reach for lotions and creams instead of sprays, and read labels carefully to ensure your sunscreen is safe for both you and the environment.



Published on: May 8, 2018