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The mercury is rising and you’ve slipped on your sunnies, ready to catch some rays with friends in your local park. It’s all good times and rosé until someone gets burnt.
We don’t mean to be the bearers of bad news but it’s worth remembering that melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK so there’s every reason to be safe in the sun.
While you may think you’ve covered all bases by buying a broad spectrum sun cream and slathering it on your face and arms, you may be neglecting some areas. And these just happen to be hotspots for skin cancer. Keep scrolling for the most common SPF blindspots:
The backs of your hands
We use our hands to apply sun cream to the rest of our bodies but they rarely get the same protection in return.
“The most common area that people neglect when applying SPF protection is the backs of the hands,” says Sk:n’s expert dermatologist, Dr Firas Al-Niaimi. And yet this part of the body is almost always exposed to sunlight when you’re outdoors.
Hands are a troublespot when you hit the road. “Historically, people associate sun protection with their faces only and they forget to wear it when they’re driving. UVA rays go straight through windows year-round, causing pigmentation on the backs of the hands.”
Remember to reapply SPF after washing your hands and before getting behind the wheel of your car.
Commit to applying and reapplying sunscreen to your legs. They get just as much sun exposure as the top half of your body and are, in fact, one of the most common sites for melanoma in women, particularly the back of the legs.
Another high risk area is the ears. It’s easy to assume that just because your hair is covering your ears they’re protected. But chances are, you’ll pull your hair back at some point during the day, or tuck it behind your ears, which can leave them vulnerable to accidental sun exposure.
“Apply sun cream to your ears – tops, the lobes and also on the skin at the back – before you go out in the sun, and wear a wide-brimmed hat to shield this part of your body,” says Dr Al-Niaimi.
The skin on your scalp is just an extension of the skin on your face so it follows that this is a key area not to skimp on. Men, pay particular attention.
“SPF protection is a must if you’re bald or your scalp isn’t covered with a thick layer of hair,” says Dr Al-Niaimi.
Even if you are blessed with Jennifer Aniston-esque locks, it’s worth spraying sun cream where you part your hair and along the hairline as this can easily get burned.
Most people don’t give their lips a second thought in the sun, let alone think they can actually get sunburnt. But lips do, and because the skin here is significantly thinner than the skin on the rest of your body, it is more susceptible to damage caused by UVA and UVB rays.
Apply an SPF lip balm regularly throughout the day, especially on the lower lip which protrudes more and is hit most by the sun. And whatever you do, don’t apply a shiny lip gloss when sunbathing as it actually absorbs sunlight and increases your risk of getting a burn on your lips.
Three sun creams OK! loves
You know your blindspots, now here’s what we recommend putting on
Heliocare 360 Invisible Spray SPF50+, buy it here for £29
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A spray like this one is perfect for those hard-to-reach SPF blind spots. The formula is sand and water-resistant and can be applied from any angle, ensuring easy application. It’s even effective on wet skin.
Seventy One Invisible Sun Shield SPF 50+
The mineral filters in this sun cream form a barrier against UV rays while glycerin and omega-rich sunflower oil hydrate. You’ll find a 25ml travel size in the OK! Beauty Edit box put together by Katie Piper, alongside five products worth over £90. New subscribers can snap up the whole lot for just £7.50 here, instead of the usual monthly box cost of £15 – just use the code 50FIRSTBOX.
Vichy Capital Soleil UV Age Daily SPF50+ Facial Sunscreen, buy it here for £15.75
With its serum-like texture and roll call of skincare actives such as strengthening niacinamide and collagen-boosting peptides, this facial sun cream easily slots into your daily routine.
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