You probably know that sunscreen is your best defense against skin cancer when you’re spending time in the sun. What you may not realize is that most people tend to miss critical areas of the face when applying sunscreen. Are you making this major mistake too? Keep reading to find out.
Most people do not apply sunscreen to the eyelids and area surrounding the eyes.
Your face might be the first place you apply sunscreen, but if you’re like most people, you could be missing many of the exposed areas of your face. Much of that missed area is likely to be around the eyes and on the eyelids. In one recent study, participants were instructed to apply both SPF moisturizer and regular sunscreen as they would normally, and they consistently missed the eyelids in their application. Though it may seem counterintuitive to apply sunscreen so close to the eyes, the skin around your eyes is particularly vulnerable to damage. So, you should be applying sunscreen there regularly.
Your eyelids are especially vulnerable to skin cancer.
The skin on your eyelids is thin and delicate, which means that it’s also more vulnerable to damage. In fact, an estimated 5-10% of skin cancers occur on the eyelid. Even more troubling is that this type of skin cancer is much more difficult to treat. Often, doctors who diagnose this type of cancer find that their patients simply didn’t realize they should be applying sunscreen to the eyelids.
Choose a sunscreen that is intended for the face.
You’re probably used to moisturizers and other skincare products warning against application around the eyes. Sunscreen is an exception, but you should choose one that’s specifically designed for facial application. Facial sunscreens tend to have a thicker texture that’s less likely to drip into the eyes and is gentler on the delicate facial skin. Alternatively, you may choose a daily moisturizer that has SPF protection included.
Polarized sunglasses can bolster your protection.
Physical barriers are also recommended to protect the eyes and the skin surrounding them. Polarized or UV protected sunglasses should be worn while you’re outdoors. Not only will this help shield the skin, but it can help to prevent damage to your eyes, such as cataracts. A wide-brimmed hat can also be helpful in shielding your face from harsh UV rays.
Reapplication is still important.
Along with forgetting to apply sunscreen to certain areas, people often forget the importance of reapplication. You should reapply sunscreen every 1-2 hours for continued protection. It’s easy to get lax with your skincare routine, but the damage from sun exposure can be substantial—and sometimes irreversible.
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