As we head into the summer months, most people are aware that it’s necessary to amp up sun protection. But some of us might be missing a vital spot when applying their daily sunscreen — the eyelids.
The thin skin on eyelids is extra vulnerable to damaging UV rays, but many people skip applying sunscreen there because it tends to sting. British researchers, led by Austin McCormick, recently conducted a study on 84 test subjects. “People were applying cream [and] going out in the sun thinking they were protected. And yet one of the most vulnerable areas was left unprotected.” McCormick continued, “One of the most common conditions I have to operate on is eyelid skin cancer,” which is painful and difficult to treat.
This study determined that people miss about 20 percent of the eyelid region when applying sun protection.
Joshua Zeichner, a Mount Sinai Hospital researcher and dermatologist, says that there are other vital body parts that tend to get overlooked. The sides of necks, ear tips, and top lips are frequently missed by well-intended sunscreen users. “In the office, we see sunburns in these areas, and we see skin cancers later in the life in these areas,” Zeichner said. “People get lazy. It’s not easy to be diligent.”
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that people use sunscreen right up to the lash line. For even more coverage, combine sunscreen with a hat and glasses when going outdoors on sunny days.