You may be vigilant with your sunscreen use while spending time outdoors, but when it comes to full-body sun protection, there are some places people commonly forget about. Regular exposure to the sun without adequate protection causes permanent skin damage, eventually leading to early signs of ageing (like wrinkles and pigmentation) and skin cancer. Do you remember to apply sunscreen in these top forgotten spots?
The top of your ears
When applying sunscreen on the face, many people overlook their ears. This is a very common area for skin cancers to develop as you get older, and can also be difficult to treat surgically. Skin cancers on the ear are more common in men, since women typically have longer hair that offers their ears some protection from the sun.
The scalp is another area where people frequently forget to apply sunscreen. Sunscreen can make the hair greasy and unpleasant, but there are non-greasy products available that can be used in a swipe down the part of your hair and in any balding or thin patches on your head. This is great for days at the beach or pool, as long as you remember to re-apply. As an alternative to sunscreen, wear a broad-brimmed hat whenever you're planning to be outside for more than 10 minutes. Keep a hat in the car or beside the front door so wearing it becomes a habit!
The hands are one of the first places people begin to notice signs of ageing. It's important to remember your hands when applying sunscreen to the rest of your body. Using sunscreen on the backs of your hands while driving is a good idea as you can sustain a lot of damage from the sun's UV radiation through your car windscreen, even if the windows are tinted.
Your upper chest
The decolletage is an area where women first start to see signs of ageing such as wrinkles, fine lines and sagging skin, which happens prematurely when you have sustained a lot of sun damage. And in men, around 50 per cent of skin cancers are found on the torso. It is therefore very important for everyone to apply sunscreen to these areas, including the exposed skin around your collar.
It is common knowledge that applying sunscreen to the arms, legs, face and body is important, but many skin cancers are found on people's forearms. Your arms are most frequently affected by the sun during incidental exposure such as driving, walking the dog, hanging out washing and mowing the lawn. So it's important to remember to apply sunscreen to your forearms every day, even if you aren't intending to stay outdoors for long.
Don't forget, skin cancer can occur anywhere on the body, including areas that aren't exposed to the sun such as the soles of your feet and inside your mouth. Just because you keep an area covered, doesn't mean it is immune to skin cancer. Always wear an SPF30+ sunscreen, even during cool or cloudy days, to help prevent skin cancer and signs of ageing, and remember to re-apply it every two hours if outdoors.
For skin cancer screenings, see a professional for a skin check at least once a year, as early detection of skin cancer offers the best chance of successful treatment.