The Places You Should Be Applying Sunscreen (But Probably Aren't)
Whether it's a spot on your body -- or a spot in the world -- NYC dermatologist Francesca Fusco breaks down the places most people forget to protect.
"People don't think about the fact your scalp is skin and can get any skin cancer," Fusco says. Applying sunscreen here is obviously a bit difficult, so she advises to wear a hat as often as you can. If your hair is parted, use either a stick sunscreen or spray to apply it to the exposed skin.
Along Your Hairline
"When people come into my office for an appointment, I shine a special light on them and you can see where people miss their sunscreen -- sometimes they miss up to half an inch of the perimeter of their face," Fusco says, adding that she thinks it's because they don't want to mess up their hair. Consider a mineral powder sunscreen to dust around the edge of your face if you're worried about a liquid or cream messing with your 'do.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Fusco says, technically she's not supposed to advise patients to apply sunscreen here. "Instead, you should wear sunglasses that have UV protection," she says. This doesn't apply to your brow bone area, though -- so definitely make sure you hit that area with sunscreen.
Bonus: Sun protection over your eyes is one of the easiest ways to prevent premature aging.
Fusco says don't forget to wipe sunscreen in the crevices of your ears, behind your ears, and on the tops of your ears -- use a cotton swab or makeup sponge if you think it's a little icky.
The Upper Lip
You might actually apply sunscreen here without thinking about it -- then go about your day drinking, eating, and using a napkin, never thinking to reapply it here again. "All of that action rubs it off faster than the rest of your face, so it's one of the first places you should think of reapplying," Fusco says. Make sure you also hit the bit of skin between your nostrils -- that's another commonly skipped spot, she says.
Skin cancer can happen anywhere, but the hands offer another reason for needing to apply sunscreen daily: "They're one of the most exposed parts of your body, just like your face. But often women are better about taking care of their face -- so then the dark spots on the hands reveal your age," Fusco says. The hands are also an area you need to pay special attention to reapplying, especially if you wash your hands frequently or are a big fan of hand sanitizer.
Fusco says that if you don't have polish on your nails, theoretically UV rays can penetrate the nail plate. "When you apply sunscreen to your hands and feet, just make sure you also rub it in onto your nails to be as safe as possible," she says.
Anywhere You Spend Time Next to a Window
"UV light can pass through windows in a car, bus, and even an airplane," Fusco says, adding that if you work next to a window, that counts as well. And she doesn't mean just your face and hands -- any bit of skin that's exposed should be protected with sunscreen.
At the Nail Salon
While there are various studies that say the UV exposure in nail driers is so minimal it's not worth fretting, Fusco says why risk it. "They're going to do a hand massage, right? Bring a little hand cream that has SPF -- then you're covered no matter what," she suggests.