Ultraviolet Safety Awareness Month: Aren’t You Forgetting Something?
It’s easy to forget about some of our most vulnerable spots when we’re applying sunblock. Unfortunately, the sun never forgets to emit harmful UVA and UVB rays that can wreak havoc on our skin and eyes if we aren’t relentlessly careful. Here are a few parts of the body we are the most likely to neglect to apply sun protection.
How often do you put sunblock on your scalp? If you have a full head of hair (or if you think you have a full head of hair), probably never.
Yep – your scalp needs sun protection too! While hair does shield your scalp from the sun, unless your hair is uniformly thick, you should give your scalp extra protection.
The easiest way to protect your scalp from ultraviolet (UV) rays is to wear a hat while outdoors. However, if you aren’t fond of hats, you can apply sunscreen to parts of your head where your scalp is exposed. These include:
- The hairline
- The part in your hair
- The crown where hair might be thinner
It’s a good idea to apply sunscreen to any part of your head where your scalp is visible.
The soles of the feet have a layer of thick, callused skin that protects them from harmful UV rays, but the tops of the feet do not. If you wear sandals, flip-flops, or other shoes that expose the tops of your feet, make sure to apply a layer of sunscreen.
Did you know that skin cancer can affect the lips? If you have fair skin, you are particularly vulnerable to basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas of the lips (particularly the lower lip), so make sure your lips are protected.
Not all lip balms offer sun protection. Make sure the brand you choose has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. You should also reapply your protective lip balm every hour or so, and after you eat or drink.
When applying sun protection to your ears, make sure to apply it to the backs of the ears in addition to the tops, earlobes, and any other exposed areas. Wide-brimmed hats are also extremely effective. You may not know it but the third most common location for skin cancers is the ears.
The area around the eyes is extremely delicate, so it’s understandable if you’re reluctant to apply thick sunscreen near your peepers (particularly if you have sensitive eyes or wear contacts). However, most mineral-based formulas designed to be applied to the face are perfectly safe and effective – you just must be careful to keep the sunblock out of your actual eyes. If you have concerns about sunblock melting into your eyes, stick sunscreens are easy to apply and are less likely to run into your eyes.
As for the eyes themselves, always sport a pair of shades with 100% UV protection.
Just because you can’t see the back of your neck doesn’t mean the sun can’t reach it! Always apply sunblock to your entire neck – not just the part under your chin. If you do a lot of driving, make sure you pay attention to the left side of your neck, since that area gets the most direct sunlight.
You’ve probably done a fair amount of hand-washing these last few years, but how often do you apply (and reapply) sunscreen to your hands? Not only does sunblock help lower your risk of developing skin cancer, it also helps prevent the development of sunspots and other signs of premature aging and skin damage.
Regular visits to a qualified dermatologist are essential for assuring a lifetime of healthy skin. Schedule an appointment with our team today!