We all love summer and a good tan. Unfortunately, 80% of people who like to spend hours under the sun don’t realize that they are not applying their SPF correctly.
Although it might sound obvious, sunscreen needs to be applied even in places that you might think don’t get burned. In reality, they do.
According to Michael Kassardjian, DO, a board-certified dermatologist in Los Angeles, not applying sunscreen correctly can end up in more severe situations than a sunburn.
“I’ve definitely seen a few locations in the development of skin cancer that can be due to being missed by sunscreen application daily, but also areas that tend to have sunscreen rub off easily and not be as effective where people forget to reapply,” Says Kassardjian.
Today we will analyze the most common areas that you are skipping from sunscreen:
What Body Parts Are You Missing From Sunscreen?
Ears: The top part of your ears is especially vulnerable to sunburns.
“This is an area that we, unfortunately, see many skin cancers develop and is an area that is forgotten when applying sunscreen,” says Dr. Kassardjian. “Not only the ears themselves but behind the ears as well, especially behind that left ear for those people that are commuting long distances daily as they will have constant exposure to those UV rays.”
Note: Even if you are wearing a hat or cap you need to protect your ears.
Lips: Your lips are one of the parts of your body that are always exposed to UV light. Unfortunately, most of us forget to protect them and end up with chapped/burned lips.
“We do see quite a bit of skin cancers on the lip, and these skin cancers can become more aggressive [and] require surgical treatment, so prevention is key,” says Dr. Kassardjian.
The solution, wear a lip balm that has SPF in it.
Chest: This is a commonly forgotten area especially for those who practice sports under the sun. We fall into the trap of believing that our t-shirt will protect us and end up with sunburned neck and upper chest.
“For my friends and patients who are runners, this is an area that seems to be more frequently overlooked,” says Rajani Katta, MD, board-certified dermatologist and author of “Glow: The Dermatologist’s Guide to a Whole Foods Younger Skin Diet.”
A simple solution for this is to wear additional sunscreen on this area and look for clothes that have SPF in their fabric.
Top Hands: If you drive on a daily basis, this should be a must. Even on cloudy days, our hands are completely exposed to the sun rays, which can lead to freckles, sun spots, and premature aging.
Since you are constantly washing your hands you should carry with you a stick or powder sunscreen to easily reapply.
Feet: Another neglected yet very important body area is your feet. You have probably seen, or been in a situation where the top of your feet is completely toasted and to wear even socks is a complete massacre. In order to avoid this, we highly encourage you to apply a heavy layer of sunscreen before wearing your sandals or flip-flops.
Remember, even if you are applying spray sunscreen, do it before you wear your preferred sandals.
Additional Sunscreen Tips
Now that you know the importance of wearing sunscreen in other areas besides your face, arms, and legs the following tips will help you make the most of it:
- Get a Good Quality Sunscreen: I speak out of personal experience. I was wearing a really cheap brand on my face and after a couple of hour drive, I noticed that the left side of my face (the one that gets more sun) was burning. The reason was that my sunscreen was cheap and it didn’t have a high SFP. So, I highly encourage you to make a good investment and buy a dermatologist brand to protect your beautiful face.
- Reapply every 4 hours: Do not fall for the trap of applying it in the morning and forget the rest of the day. After 4 hours your SFP is no longer effective and you need a second layer of protection. This is another reason why I recommend a good quality sunscreen (with dry touch) that will not ruin your make up or make your skin look oily.
- Protect Your Neck: A good dermatologist advice is to always take your skincare routine down to your neck. For 2 reasons, one they age the same, and two it doesn’t get sunburned.
- Pick a High SFP: SPF, or sun protection factor, indicates how much solar energy is required to cause a sunburn when you’re wearing sunscreen compared with unprotected skin. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30, when used as directed, prevents 97 percent of UVB rays from reaching your skin. An SFP of 50, prevents up to 98%.
Remember, when it comes to the skin, no measure is too high to protect its health. Do you have additional sunscreen tips that have work for you? Let us know in the comments below!
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