Most Australians know the
importance of protecting ourselves from the harsh ultraviolet rays of the sun. After all, we have one
of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world and are encouraged to ‘slip,
slop, slap’ from childhood.
Unfortunately, even if you’re
regularly applying the right amount of sunscreen, it can still be easy to miss a spot and
leave patches of skin vulnerable to sun damage.
In 2017, the University of
Liverpool presented a study where 57 men and women were asked to apply sunscreen to their
face. Researchers took photos of each participant before and after their sunscreen
application using a special camera that made the sunscreen appear black. On
average, people missed 9.5% of their face.
This study is just one example of
how easy it is to unintentionally neglect certain areas when applying
sunscreen. If we’re missing nearly 10% of our face, imagine how easy is to miss
parts of the body — a far greater surface area of skin.
With that in mind, here are five
places that many people forget or miss with sunscreen:
around your eyes
The study mentioned above found that the most commonly missed areas when
applying sunscreen was the eyelids at 13.5%, and the inner corner of the eye
and bridge of the nose at 77%.
This is particularly worrying when
you consider how thin and delicate the skin around the eye is, and how
frequently this area is exposed to the sun. In fact, according to the
University of Liverpool, 5-10% of all skin cancers occur on the eyelids.
Not only does this data reveal how
important it is to apply and reapply plenty of sunscreen to the eye area, but
it also reinforces the benefit of other methods of sun protection, like wearing
a hat and sunglasses.
When purchasing a hat, remember to
choose one with a broad brim that shades the face and neck from the sun.
When it comes to sunglasses, select wrap-around styles that sit close to the face. Be sure to
check that they meet the Australian Standard AS1067:2016 and choose a category
2, 3 or 4.
Much like the eye area, the skin on
your lips is thin, delicate, and repeatedly exposed to the sun, making it
vulnerable to sun damage.
The good news is that protecting
your lips from the sun is easy. Simply choose a lip balm with SPF30 , and
remember to reapply regularly. Not only will this protect your lips from
harmful UV rays, but it will also ensure that they’re moisturized and less
prone to chapping.
The tops of
Whether we’re typing away on our
keyboard at the office, holding the steering wheel to drive, or even turning
the pages of a novel while lying by the pool, we are constantly using our hands
— yet they rarely get the sun protection that they deserve.
The hands are one of the first
places to show signs of ageing like age spots, wrinkles and thinning of the
If you’re someone who regularly
uses hand cream, why not swap your regular lotion for one that contains SPF30 ?
That way you’re not only moisturizing the skin but also protecting yourself
from the sun.
You may wish to consider stashing a
smaller bottle or roll on in your bag, on your desk, or somewhere
visible where you will remember to regularly apply it.
The tops of
It can be easy to forget to apply
sunscreen to the ears, especially the top of the ear, as it is such a small
area of skin. Unfortunately, unless you’re wearing a hat with a brim, the tops
of your ears will always be exposed to the sun’s rays when you’re outside.
Anyone who’s been burnt in this
area can attest to how sensitive this area is, so remember to cover your ears
the next time you’re applying sunscreen.
Much like the hands, the neck and
the top of the chest are especially vulnerable to the sun and susceptible to
damage and premature ageing. Even if you’re being sun smart and wearing a top
that covers your shoulders and arms, the neck and the top of the chest are
When you apply sunscreen to the
face, eye area, and ears, be sure to apply extra on your neck (including the
back!) and any parts of your chest that will be exposed to the sun during the
In addition to the five spots
mentioned above, here are a few extra areas to watch out for that are often
missed during sunscreen application:
of your knees
of your hair/your scalp
midriff if you’re wearing a cropped top
of your back (ask a friend for help!)