By now, we’ve all heard the importance of applying sunscreen daily. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their life, and this is directly related to a lifetime of cumulative ultraviolet (UV) light exposure.
“One of the best ways to protect your skin from the sun is to apply sunscreen. However, while most of us remember to cover our face, arms, legs and back, there are some areas we tend to forget about,” says Dr. Mona Mofid, a board-certified dermatologist affiliated with Sharp Community Medical Group.
Dr. Mofid shares six areas commonly missed when applying sunscreen.
- The top of your head
Few people think to apply sunscreen to their scalp. If you aren’t wearing a hat, then bald spots, your hair’s part and hairlines are all susceptible to sunburn. Skin cancer can develop in this sneaky spot, especially if you are bald, so it’s important to wear a hat or apply sunscreen.
Your ears can be sun magnets, especially for men with short hair or women who wear their hair up. When applying sunscreen to your face, remember to also apply on each ear to keep them protected.
Skin cancer can be found around the delicate skin of the eyes. You can use a moisturizer or eye cream that contains SPF. Sunglasses offer the best protection for the eyes. In fact, UV light exposure is the leading cause of cataracts — just another reason to wear sunglasses, especially when driving.
Almost everyone remembers to apply sunscreen to their faces, but many may skip their lips. You should remember to apply an SPF lip balm to the lips and reapply after eating or drinking. Many lipsticks are also available with SPF.
- Neck and chest
People often forget the back of the neck. Think of that crinkled, leathery farmer’s neck and remember it next time. Ideally, you should protect your chest and back with a sun shirt or rash guard.
- Feet and hands
People often walk around in flip-flops or barefoot in the summer, which makes their feet vulnerable to the sun. How many times do you walk or lounge on a chair outside without your shoes, or go swimming in the pool and ocean? Make sure you apply sunscreen to the tops and sides of your feet and between your toes too.
The hands are one of the first places to show signs of aging, so using a good moisturizing lotion with SPF is a great way to protect your hands. Keep your sunscreen in the car and reapply before driving. We get more sun damage and wrinkles on the left side of the body because it’s the driving side.
“It is best to apply sunscreen at home before you get dressed so that you are less likely to miss these tricky spots,” says Dr. Mofid. “Ideally, if you are in the sun, you should cover up with clothing, hats and sunglasses, and seek shade under an umbrella or tree.”