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Three areas vulnerable to skin cancer

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Sun Protection for Body
July 6, 2011 Reviewed by admin 1 Comment

We do all we can to protect ourselves from the sun's damaging rays, but it seems that all too often we miss out on protecting the most obvious areas on our bodies. It’s not your fault, we haven’t exactly been taught growing up about the wonders of protecting our bodies from something like the sun. By the time we do decide that we should do something, we tend to stick to the main areas like the arms and legs. Basically the areas that we feel would get the most exposure are our only concern. Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to miss out on some obvious areas.

Your feet have to be the most blatantly missed out area, especially since people will cover their arms and legs with clothing but opt for sandals or open toed shoes.

Foot melanoma comes in at one of the deadliest types of skin cancer because of late diagnoses. By the time the cancer is found,  there's a chance that it has already spread all throughout the body. This leads to half of the people who learn they have this form of melanoma dying within the first five years of diagnosis. The easiest way to protect yourself is to forgo the latest fashion trends and wear something that covers your foot. The second best option would be to keep wearing sunscreen. This is especially important if you’re heading to the beach; sand and water will rub off sunscreen so don’t go light when applying.

According to foot and ankle surgeon Thanh Dinh, DPM, FACFAS, "I advise my patients to regularly inspect their feet, including the soles, in between their toes and even under their toenails, for any changing moles or spots and to have any suspicious areas promptly examined by a foot and ankle specialist.” The best way to fight against skin cancer is to prevent it before it even starts.

Your ears are also always at risk. I love watching baseball but often sit there wondering if any of my favorite players even wear sunscreen. Baseball caps can help protect your face but leave ears exposed to the elements. The thin skin covering the cartilage in your ear is a prime target for UV rays so your best bet is to wear a wide brimmed hat. However, I understand if that might not be your style as I probably wouldn’t wear one if you paid me to. Another off the beaten path method of protection can be your hair, if it’s long enough. Try keeping your hair down to protect your ears and neck from the sun.  The most sensible solution though is certainly sunscreen. Always have it on hand and keep your ears basted whenever you’re stepping out in the sun.

Perhaps the most unknown area that people forget to cover are their eyelids. The thin flap of skin is ironically overlooked but like the ears, is very vulnerable. Unknown to many, skin cancers of the eye lid account for five to 10 percent of all skin cancers. Prevention is as simple as sunscreen but some eye ware may be able to help protect. Ask your eye care professional if your glasses and/or sunglasses have any photo-protective abilities.

If you're wondering what we recommend for sun protection for your face and feet, the TIA office is devoted to using Suntegrity which we do carry in our shop. If you need something a bit more rugged check out Badger SPF30.

  • July 13, 2011

    by sberger

    Hi Sunil,
    What product should one use on the eye lid? It's a delicate area, and my main concern is the product getting into my eyes, closely followed by the more vain concern of - how do I wear eye makeup when I put sunscreen on the lid?


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