Don't Forget to Apply Sunscreen to these Areas!
Be Thoughtful in Where you Apply your Sunscreen
A large percentage of those skin cancers are on areas that we typically "miss" when applying sunscreen: scalp/hairline, ears, lips, eyelids, and hands. Because, in general, most of us are not completely consistent in our sunscreen use, and we didn't know about the importance of sunscreen decades ago, we are seeing a surge in the skin cancer epidemic. 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime.
As a skin cancer expert, a large percentage of the skin cancers that I treat are on the scalp, usually on patients with thinning hair, or along the hairline in patients that applied sunscreen to their head and neck, but missed the hairline because they don't want the greasy sunscreen to get in their hair.
Mousse sunscreen formulations are ideal for the scalp/hairline areas because they are easy to apply and spread over the skin. Finding a sunscreen that is non-greasy, so it doesn't weigh down hair, allows for a much more cosmetically elegant option for protecting hair-bearing skin.
Powder formulation sunscreens are similar to a dry-shampoo, and therefore an ideal option for protecting the part in your hair from sun damage.
I see a large amount of skin damage in the form of fine lines and thinning of the lips as well as skin cancers on the lips. Although we may get the lips with initial sunscreen application to the face during the day, that sunscreen easily disappears with eating, drinking, and talking. Having a product that we look forward to reapplying keeps us compliant in protecting our lips from UV damage.
Tinted lip sunscreen options work well with various skin tones while conditioning agents moisturize the skin.
It's important that sun protection is streamlined and simple, so I never recommend a separate product for eyelids for my patients. Rather, I look for a facial sunscreen with mineral active ingredients that won't irritate the eyes
Sunscreens that contain mineral sunscreen ingredients (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) are generally best for the face and eyelids. Additionally, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses will protect the delicate skin of the eyelids.
Don't forget your ears--front and back! This is another place that is often forgotten with sunscreen application. I treat skin cancers on all parts of the ear: front, back, top, bottom, and inside. The same product that works for your face and eyelids is usually perfect for ears.
Our hands truly show the cumulative effects of sun damage over our lifetime in the form of skin laxity, thinning of the skin, and sun spots. I treat a large number of skin cancers on the hands in my Mohs surgery practice
In talking to thousands of skin cancer and cosmetic patients over the years, I've come to realize how much sun damage to the hands occurs while we are driving our cars. While our hands are on the steering wheel, those UVA rays penetrate right through our windshield and windows, and into the deep dermis of our skin. This leads to collagen breakdown. Getting in the habit of applying sunscreen before driving prevents the majority of this damage. That's why I prefer a portable formulation for hands. The convenience of a sunscreen that you can keep in your purse ensures that you'll always have protection on hand (no pun intended!)
Prevention is everything when it comes to your healthiest skin! Get in the DAILY habit of applying sunscreen to all sun-exposed skin, and don't forget these commonly missed locations!