Top 5 Areas Missed When Applying Sunscreen
Applying sunscreen but still getting burned? You’re not alone. It’s a common complaint and no, it does not mean you are immune to sun protection. It is not uncommon to miss areas when applying sunscreen and pay the price later.
Skin cancer knows know boundaries, and can appear almost anywhere on the skin. A history of sunburn has been shown to increase your risk of developing skin cancer. We therefore wanted to share the top five areas commonly missed when protecting your skin from the sun.
5. The Ears
“Patients are always proud to tell me that they wear a hat outdoors, until I point out their baseball cap only gives them partial protection,” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, a board certified Dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology in Austin, Texas. We seem to be good at shielding our faces. So why is it so difficult to keep our ears covered? These small protrusions keep our glasses up and hold our headphones, and are one of the most likely areas to receive a sunburn on the body. The amount of direct UV exposure the ears receive makes it that much more important to not forget them when applying your sunscreen.
4. The Scalp
Whether it’s a part, cowlick, bald spot or cue ball, the scalp is an area we tend to forget. Certainly, a thick head of hair can offer significant sun protection, but it does not mean that the scalp is resistant to skin cancer. “It’s definitely a problem,” says Dr. Mamelak,”particularly in men who are thinning or bald.” Dr. Mamelak advises that susceptible individuals apply sunscreen to the scalp on a regular basis. A number of new sprays, conditioners and other hair care products are available that contain highly effective sunscreens to protect your scalp.
3. The Feet
Head to toe should be your motto when lathering up before heading outdoors. I you have ever fallen victim to the ever-glamorous sandal tan, you understand how covering your feet may mean the difference between healthy skin and melanoma. “I’ve seen skin cancer on the top of the head, and the bottom of the feet,” says Dr. Mamelak, just one other reason why Dr. Mamelak always checks the soles and between the toes when he performs a full skin exam.
2. The Lips
The lips receive a significant amount of sun exposure and are often neglected when applying sunscreen. “It really doesn’t taste that great,” says Dr. Mamelak, believing this is likely one of the reasons people skip the lips with their sunscreen creams and lotions. Fortunately, many skin care product lines now make lip balms and chapsticks that have an SPF, like EltaMD’s UV Lip Balm with an SPF of 31.
1. The Hands
Always exposed, the hands can receive as much UV and sun exposure as the face. How often do you remember to give your hands a dose of sunscreen? The hands have become a target for rejuvenation with their sun spots and volume loss. A lack of sunscreen and sun protection can lead to rapid aging of the skin and the potential for skin cancers in this area.
Dr. Mamelak is a skin cancer specialist. He completed a fellowship in Mohs micrographic surgery and treats basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma and other skin tumors at Sanova Dermatology and the Austin Mohs Surgery Center.
Are you looking for ways to combat UV rays or new strategies for sun protection? Please contact us today so we can assist you with all your skin care needs!