Putting on Sunscreen? Don’t Miss These Nine Places

By Contributing Writer - August 30, 2021

You already know that the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin and contribute to development of skin cancer. But did you know that the sun’s UV rays can damage your unprotected skin in as little as 15 minutes?

That’s why it is so important to cover up as much as possible and to apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of skin, not only before heading to the beach for the day but also before venturing outside for short periods of time. And while wearing sunscreen is one of the easiest and best ways to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, you could be missing some important areas.

Here are nine common places to double check before going out into the sun to be sure you have applied sunscreen:

  1. Ears
  2. Lips
  3. Uncovered areas of the scalp (hairline, bald areas, parted section of hair)
  4. Top of feet
  5. Top of hands
  6. Behind the knees
  7. Under swimsuit straps and where the edge of swimsuit meets the skin
  8. Neck and chest (easy to miss if wearing an open shirt over a bathing suit)
  9. Your eyelids and skin around the eyes, even if wearing sunglasses

Although people with light skin, hair and eyes have greater chance of developing skin cancer, people with darker skin are not immune from sun damage that could lead to skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone use sunscreen that offers the following:

  • Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays)
  • SPF 30 or higher
  • Water resistance
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"It is important for everyone, regardless of skin type, to wear sunscreen if you plan to be outside during the day, even on cloudy days."

- Dr. Jonathan Zager, Cutaneous Oncologist

“It is important for everyone, regardless of skin type, to wear sunscreen if you plan to be outside during the day, even on cloudy days. Frequent short trips outside can add up to sun damage over time if you are not protected,” said Moffitt Cancer Center cutaneous oncologist Dr. Jonathan Zager. “Also, it’s necessary to protect our babies and children from the earliest of ages to help prevent skin cancer by liberally applying sunscreen and reapplying often.”

Tips for parents on how to apply sunscreen to children

It’s equally or even more important to put sunscreen on our babies and children. This will help prevent sun damage and substantially lower their skin cancer risk starting at a very early age. Since children love to be in the water over the summer months, whether at the pool, the beach or running through sprinklers in the front yard, be sure to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. And remember, babies require extra safeguarding. A baby’s best defense against sunburn is avoiding the sun or staying in the shade.

Sunscreen is not intended to allow children to spend more time in the sun than they would otherwise. Try combining sunscreen with these options to prevent UV damage:

  • Seeking shade
  • Covering up
  • Wearing a hat (be sure to protect exposed areas with sunscreen)
  • Wearing sunglasses
  • Planning ahead by keeping sun protection handy—in the car, bag or child’s backpack


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