Covering your face, arms, and legs in sunblock before heading to the beach or pool is practically second nature for many people. But the surprising spots you should be sunblocking might need a little more attention. Taking a couple of minutes now to make sure everything is covered up can prevent some serious skin damage later on.
Now I'm not trying to be an alarmist or frighten you into staying out of the sun forever. That would be no fun. But keeping your skin safely protected from sun damage is a legitimate health concern. In fact, the majority of melanomas are caused by exposure to UV radiation from the sun, as explained by the Skin Cancer Foundation. Melanomas are cancerous growths considered the most dangerous form of skin cancer, as further noted by the Skin Cancer Foundation. In other words, the sun does present a real threat, but proper skin protection can help tremendously.
To learn more, Romper reached out to Dr. Jeanine Downie, a Board Certified Dermatologist with Zwivel.com. She provided awesome insight into the parts of your body that often need a little more love from the SPF. Consider her advice the next time you head out to enjoy some sunshine.
It's so easy to meticulously apply sunscreen to your entire body, only to forget your mouth. Not only is a sunburn on your lips painful, but it can also be dangerous. As Dr. Downie explained, the skin on the lips can present Squamous Cell Carcinoma, pre-cancerous lesions, and even Melanoma. Applying balm with an SPF is a smart part of your daily skin protection regime.
2. The Neck
It's one of the spots people often forget about entirely when applying SPF. "People usually apply sunscreen to their face and body, but often neglect to apply it to their neck,” said cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank in The Cut. It's a good area to cover as part of your daily SPF routine.
With all the shaving and deodorant applications, armpits can be one of the more high maintenance parts of the body. But they tend to be forgotten when applying sunscreen, although that part of the arm definitely catches some rays. "Commonly, patients present to my office with complaints of skin darkening in this area, and lack of sun protection can be a large part of this issue (in addition to irritating deodorants leading to skin reactions)," said Dr. Downie. Put SPF on your pits, people.
All bare skin needs SPF protection, and this includes your lobes. Covering your ears with sunscreen is a crucial part of your sun protection routine, as explained by the American Academy of Dermatology. Wearing a giant hat helps, too.
Dr. Downie stresses the importance of always applying sunscreen to your scalp, whether you have short hair, long hair, or a buzzcut. "One of the most deadliest areas to get Melanoma is the scalp, as many people are unaware of its existence or do not realize the severity of the lesion when it first presents because they cannot properly visualize it," said Dr. Downie. Plus, the second-most common type of skin cancer, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, is often found on the scalp, as Dr. Downie further explained. Applying broad spectrum sunscreens of 30 SPF or higher to your scalp, or wearing protective clothing, is vital.
Don't forget the skin that's exposed when you blink. In fact, 5 to 10 percent of skin cancers are found around the eyelids, as noted by dermatologist Dr. Arielle Kauvar in Everyday Health. If sunscreen lotions sting your eyes, consider a protective pair of wraparound sunglasses.
7. Belly Button
When was the last time you even thought about this part of the body? It's easy to forget when you're applying sunblock as well. "One area that you may overlook is the umbilicus (AKA belly button). Whether you're an 'inny' or an 'outy' you should always protect this area," said Dr. Downie. Swipe a little sunblock over it the next time you bare your belly outside.
8. Top of Feet
Don't forget to protect the tops of your feet during sandal season. As it turns out, the skin on the feet is susceptible to forms of skin cancer such as melanoma, as explained by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Plus, those top-of-foot sunburns hurt like nothing else, and they make wearing shoes painful for days on end.
9. Bottom Of Feet
To be honest, I have never considered applying sunscreen here, but it makes perfect sense. "Acral Melanoma, a type of Melanoma that occurs on the extremities, can be related to lack of sun protection to the bottom of the feet," said Dr. Downie. Although it isn't the easiest part of the body to keep protected, because lotions can rub off of the feet so easily, it's important to give your feet some SPF too. Simply applying sunscreen to your feet 15 to 30 minutes before going into the sun can help. By following these tips about SPF best practices, you and your family can stay safe in the sun all year long.