Aila Images/ShutterstockIf there’s any one piece of advice to take from health and beauty articles, it’s that sunscreen is not optional. Not only does slathering up daily cut risk of skin cancer by half, but the sun protection can also keep your skin looking young by slowing aging. Even if you’ve stayed diligent, though, there’s one common spot on your face you likely always miss.
When you’re rubbing in sunscreen, you probably focus on your nose, cheeks, and forehead. But when was the last time you made sure to cover your eyelids? A small UK study found that volunteers were more likely to miss the areas around their eyes than any other spots. Nearly 14 percent left their eyelids unprotected, and 77 missed the spot between the inner corner of the eye and the bridge of the nose.
Skin cancer of the eyelids makes up about five to ten percent of all skin cancer diagnoses, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Most are non-melanoma, with 83 percent of eyelid skin cancer cases basal cell carcinoma and 17 percent squamous cell carcinoma. And while most eyelid growths aren’t cancer, a painless, asymmetric tumor that starts to bleed could be cancer, Richard Allen, MD, PhD, told MD Anderson Cancer Center. (Don’t miss these other 8 things everyone should know about skin cancer.)
Getting the product close to your eyes seems like a bad idea, but some cosmetic companies make eye creams with SPF or sunscreens specially formulated for the eyes. If trying to get sunscreen around your eyes without irritation isn’t going well, wearing a wide-brimmed hat or sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection can save your skin, too.
“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,” Kevin Hamil, PhD, co-author of the UK sunscreen application study, said in a statement. “However, they do more than that, they protect the highly cancer prone eyelid skin as well.”
Check out these other 6 sneaky things that may be increasing your risk of skin cancer.