When applying sunscreen, most of us will quickly slather it on.
But it turns out we’re missing an essential part of our face that needs to be protected.
Experts are urging people to protect their eyelids after worrying skin cancer statistics have emerged.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool have found that people miss around 10% of their face when applying sun cream.
During a study, they asked 57 participants to apply sunscreen to their face with no further information given. Photos were then taken of each person’s face using a UV-sensitive camera.
The areas covered by sun cream showed up black, revealing that 13.5% of people missed their eyelids and 77% of people didn’t apply cream between the inner corner of the eye and the bridge of the nose.
Participants were then asked to repeat the experiment after being given extra information about eyelid protection. This time, there was a slight improvement in the level of sunscreen coverage with only 7.7% of people’s faces left unprotected.
Protecting your eyelids may seem insignificant but experts have warned that failing to apply sun cream to this area could put you at a greater risk of skin cancer.
“It’s worrying that people find it so hard to sufficiently apply sunscreen to their face, an area which is particularly at risk of skin cancer due to the amount of sun exposure it receives,” said Dr Kevin Hamill from the university’s Department of Eye and Vision Science.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common cancer in the UK. Over 90% of cases occur on the head or neck with between 5 and 10% of these affecting the eyelids.
For those thinking that applying sun screen near your eyes is a dangerous move, you’d be right. Instead, you can wear sunglasses to keep those rays at bay.
“Perhaps the most important thing to take away from this research is the importance of sunglasses. Most people consider the point of sunglasses is to protect the eyes, specifically corneas, from UV damage, and to make it easier to see in bright sunlight,” continues Dr Hamill. “However, they do more than that. They protect the highly cancer prone eyelid skin as well.”
Matthew Gass from the British Association of Dermatologists has given some great advice on how to look after your skin in the sun.
“We want people to go back to the basics of sun protection,” he commented. “These are to thoroughly apply and reapply sunscreen with a minimum of factor 30 and good UVA protection, to wear protective clothing such as a t-shirt or a hat, to wear sunglasses that show the CE mark and British Standard (BSEN1836), and to spend time in the shade when the sun is at its hottest between 11am and 3pm.”
You heard the man.
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