The Top Places You May Forget To Apply Sunscreen

Share Button

Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine…..

sunYou may always wear sunscreen while spending time in the sun, but when it comes to protecting every part of your skin there are certain places that people commonly forget about. Baylor College of Medicine’s Dr. Carina Wasko, associate professor of dermatology, shares the top places people miss when putting on sunscreen and ways to prevent skin cancer and aging.

Tops of ears

When applying sunscreen to the face, people often overlook adding it to their ears as well. This is a common area on which to find precancerous abrasions as well as skin cancers during routine skin cancer screenings, Wasko said. 

“As far as places where people miss their sunscreen on a daily basis, the tops of the ears really come to mind,” Wasko said. “Women who have longer hair and cover them are a little less worrisome, but it is more worrisome for individuals with shorter hair who often forget the tops of their ears.”


The scalp is another one of the most frequently missed places to apply sunscreen. While putting sunscreen on your scalp may not always be an option, Wasko recommends wearing a wide brimmed hat whenever you plan on being outside for an extended period of time or keeping your scalp away from direct sunlight.

“Maybe people will wear sunscreen when going out for a run, but on a daily basis it’s hard because people aren’t going to be spraying sunscreen in their hair and also don’t want to necessarily wear a hat,” she said. “You can get a lot of sun damage on the top of your head so that can be a little tricky.”


It is important to remember your hands when applying sunscreen to your arms or face. Wasko addresses that you should not only apply it while outside, but also when driving because the car windows do not fully block out the sun’s ultraviolet rays. She adds that this is one of the first places people begin to notice signs of aging.

“It’s important to apply it for skin cancer risks but also for photo aging and photo damage,” Wasko said. “A lot of people later on look at their hands and are very disappointed about how much freckling and wrinkling they have – much of that has to do with time spent driving in your car. The top of your hands are getting of sun exposure even if you’re not spending a lot of time outside.”


It may be common knowledge to wear sunscreen on your forearms while at the pool or beach, but Wasko explains that this is an area where skin cancers often are found. Like the top of the hands, your forearms are also exposed to the sun while driving or during day-to-day activities. She recommends wearing sunscreen on your hands and forearms whenever you spend anytime outside or even simply driving to work.

“People think, ‘I’m at work and just in my office all day,’ but when you drive a lot of sun comes through the windows,” Wasko said. “Windows do not filter out all UV light, so we get a lot of sun damage, especially on the left side of the body where we drive”

Upper chest

twokidsunAlthough it is relatively common to apply sunscreen to the upper chest, Wasko explains how people tend to forget it on a daily basis. She said it is a frequent area where dermatologists find all types of skin cancers, including melanomas.

Wasko addresses that even when you are not spending time in the sun, it is important to apply sunscreen on those common places that could be exposed during the day, such as the chest, arms and legs.

“We try to really emphasize the importance of wearing sunscreen every day for exposed areas even if you’re just going to work, but if you’re going to be out it’s a different story – you must reapply,” Wasko said.

Since dermatologists check the entire body from head to toe during skin cancer screenings, Wasko stresses the importance of remembering to wear sunscreen every day and thinking about the areas that could be missed. She adds that it is also possible for melanomas and skin cancers to grow on areas of the skin that are not as exposed to the sun.

“Generally, skin cancer screening is from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet,” Wasko said. “People will often think if they don’t get sun exposure they can’t get skin cancer in that area, such as a part of their leg that’s usually covered up or the bottom of their feet, but skin cancers can occur anywhere, even in the areas that don’t get sun.”

Wasko recommends wearing a SPF 30 or above sunscreen even during cloudy or rainy days to prevent skin cancer and aging. If you are outside on a sunny day, it is essential to reapply about every two hours or when you towel off after swimming. For skin cancer screenings, she recommends the average adult visit their dermatologist at least once a year for a routine check.

Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Harm Than Good? – Part 2

Share Button

By Sharon Gnatt Epel

familyContinued from part 1 of this article…..

* Oxybenzone (a derivative of benzophenone) – is another chemical that has been implicated in causing hormonal disruption to the body. It can penetrate the skin and be absorbed by the body. The FDA has long approved its use as a broad spectrum SPF (blocking both UVA and UVB radiation) for anyone older than 6 months. But many toxicologists and consumer protection agencies like the Environmental Working Group and the European equivalent of the FDA disagree. In fact, in Europe, any product containing more than 0.5% of this chemical must display a warning label telling consumers that it “Contains oxybenzone.”

* Retinyl palmitate is another chemical that has recently come under scrutiny. A form of Vitamin A, research has shown that retinyl palmitate can potentially increase the risk of skin cancer (tumors) when exposed directly to the sun. This makes it all right for use in a night cream, but a questionable if not downright risky choice for use in a sunscreen.

* Avobenzone is one of the most popular sunscreens on the market and considered one of the less harmful SPFs. However, it is a free radical generator. Free radicals, you may recall, are atoms that have an odd number of electrons (unpaired) in their outer shell making them essentially unstable. They actively seek out other molecules from whom they can “steal” electrons, setting off a chain reaction that causes damage to the molecule and the cell that it is in. Free radicals are thought to be a major cause of degenerative disease and premature aging.

So what’s a responsible, health-conscious adult to do?

The answer may lie in seeking out safer, more natural alternatives.

One easy way to avoid sunburn is to don protective clothing. Specialty manufacturers now make broad-rimmed hats, shirts, jackets, gloves and socks that have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). Unlike SPFs which generally protect against UVA only, the UPF number indicates the effectiveness of the garment against both UVB and UVA ultraviolet rays. Just like SPF ratings, UPF scores range from low to high as an indicator of their efficacy. I am a fan of this clothing because it is light, comfortable, and perfect for children and adults who live in areas of high-elevation. It is also very helpful to those of us who are involved in water sports since water magnifies the sun’s rays and increases the risk of sunburn. You can Google “sun protection clothing” for links to companies that carry these types of garments.

Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are two safer sunscreen ingredient options that have been around for a long time and worth pursuing. That is, unless they have been micronized – oops! – a process also known as nanotechnology, that reduces the size of a molecule so drastically that it can pass through the layers of the skin and find its way into the bloodstream. This process was originally devised to reduce the amount of white residue left behind by zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that looked unsightly and tended to settle in people’s wrinkles.

The Environmental Working Group’s 2013 Guide to Sunscreens contains a list of safer alternatives, and other interesting information about sunscreen, high SPFs (are they really longer lasting?), the inclusion of SPFs in lip balms and cosmetics, and the latest research about their potential risk to your health.

In the meantime, please take precautions and use common sense when being outdoors for long periods of time. Remember: a sunburn may not hurt for very long, but the damage it causes will last forever.

– Copyright August 2013 by Sharon Gnatt Epel for La Isha Natural Skin Care

– Sharon Gnatt Epel is the CEO/Founder, La Isha Natural & Organic Skincare.

Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Harm Than Good? – Part 1

Share Button

By Sharon Gnatt Epel

sunUnless you live under a rock or in a dense rainforest, there’s a good chance that you are aware of the importance of shielding your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. UV rays are the leading cause of skin cancer in the U.S., and the number one cause of premature aging.

But did you know that some unfiltered sun exposure is actually necessary for good health? In addition to making us feel good and putting extra spring in our step, exposure to UVB rays causes our skin to produce Vitamin D3, which helps regulate the calcium and phosphate levels in our bodies (translating into healthy bones and teeth). D3 is also involved in an assortment of other important biological functions, including bolstering the body’s defense system against the onslaught of microbes, and helping the body assimilate and absorb other vitamins. Only 10 minutes a day of exposure during the early morning hours can be very helpful to our health and overall well-being.

However, longer sun exposure times require the use of an SPF in order to avoid sunburn and blistering. Unfortunately most of the sunscreens available today contain harmful synthetic ingredients that have been linked to hormonal imbalances and increased cancer rates. Here are some of the worst offenders that you should consider before you buy your next bottle of sunscreen:

* Octinoxate (octyl methoxycinnamate) – is one of the most common ingredients found in today’s sunscreens and cosmetics. It functions by absorbing UV-B rays. Classified as an estrogenic chemical, it has been linked to hormonal imbalance and increased rates of cancer. Women who are pregnant should not use products that contain Octinoxate because of the estrogen-like effects it has on the body.

This chemical has also been shown to linger in a person’s body for several years after exposure to it. It can cause liver damage. It is best to keep sunscreens that contain this ingredient away from children.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article shortly…..

– Copyright August 2013 by Sharon Gnatt Epel for La Isha Natural Skin Care

– Sharon Gnatt Epel is the CEO/Founder, La Isha Natural & Organic Skincare.

Translating The Jargon Used On Sunscreen Bottles

Share Button

By Nathan Parsons

beachballWe still have a lot of Summer remaining and this can mean only one thing. Yes, it’s time to top up that tan. As a species we generally worship the sun. The feel good fact tor one gets by basking in the sunshine is probably better than any drug a doctor can prescribe. We all appreciate how good a tan looks on our bodies and therefore we take every opportunity to get one whether that be flying off to tropical climes or roasting on a tanning bed.

However, sunbathing is not without its risks which mean that most of us will require the use of sunscreen. So what does sunscreen do and why do we need it? Here we take a further look at the product and explore the various terms which appear on the bottle.

The sun constantly bombards us with UV rays. These are essentially electromagnetic radiation which comes from sunlight and are completely invisible. There are only two types of UV light which actually manage to penetrate the earth’s atmosphere, these being UVA and UVB. UVB is the type which generally causes our skin to darken whereas UVA has for a long time been associated with skin cancer. UVA in effect results in damage to our DNA and will over time cause ageing and wrinkling. It accounts for over 95% of all UV rays and is present all year round even in cloudy conditions. This is why it is important to use sunscreen. Sunscreen works by minimising the effects of the harmful UV rays. The chemicals which combine to make sunscreen can be organic or inorganic and they work by filtering the UV rays so that less of them reach the deeper layers of the skin. It doesn’t stop all the rays entirely but they are significantly reduced. Of course it is better to have this degree of protection rather than not at all.

You will see many different terms and phrases on the side of a bottle of sunscreen and most of us although familiar with them, don’t really know what they actually mean. We’ve seen what UVA and UVB refer to above but what does SPF mean? The SPF acronym is common to all bottles of sunscreen. SPF stands for simply ‘Sun protection factor’ The SPF denotes the ability of the product to block UVB rays which cause the skin to tan. They do not however block UVA rays.

sunThe SPF number is what we tend to use when purchasing a product. It can give a rough indication of how long we can stay out in the sun. Our bodies naturally contain a certain amount of sun protection depending on the pigmentation of our skin. For example a fair person might typically be able to stay out in the sun for no longer than 10 minutes without protection. If they were however to put on a sunscreen with an SPF of 10, then they would be able to stay out in the sun for approximately 100 minutes, i.e. 10 x 10.

Another phrase you will see on the bottle is water resistant and/or waterproof. Water resistant generally means that the SPF protection will remain for a very limited period after exposure to water or sweating. Waterproof on the other hand means that the SPF will retain its properties up to 80 minutes after exposure to water which does include swimming.

Of course care should always be taken and one should never assume they are entirely free from burning just because sunscreen has been applied. As with anything else in life, common sense should always prevail!

Nathan Parsons is a freelance writer and graphic designer based in London. Having graduated from the in ’96 and after working for various agencies, he decided to go freelance in 2009. He specialises in working closely with brands, companies and individuals in order to utilise a massive range of expertise that would otherwise be unavailable to the public. Nathan is currently producing a series of articles in partnership with SpaceNK.

How Important Some Sunscreen Is While Playing In The Sun

Share Button

By Michael Klein

sunDoctors list three things that people need to do to make sunscreen an effective part of their sun protection routine – apply the lotion liberally, put it on early enough so that it has time to be absorbed before you go out, and use it every day.

Despite this, many of us find excuses to skip out on one or more of those things. We don’t want the lotion to be caked on, so we don’t use enough. There’s not enough time to put it on before going out, so we’ll just do it in the car. We even decide that it’s not necessary to use if we’re not going to be out that long.

Unfortunately, using sunscreen in this way makes it less effective and leaves us open to all of the potential damage that can come from the UVA and UVB rays of the sun. What does that mean?

Sunburns. We all know about sunburns. In fact, for many of us, that was probably the primary reason our parents used when teaching us that we had to wear sunscreen or sunblock before going to the neighborhood pool. Usually these aren’t serious or long-lasting, but they can be quite painful and embarrassing.

Wrinkles. When we say that the sun is tanning us, what it’s really doing is drying out our skin. Over time, this can lead to skin that makes you look much older with many more lines and wrinkles than for someone with healthy skin at your age. It also causes different kinds of wrinkles – both coarse and fine – which can make it seem like your skin has lines everywhere. The sun does this to us because too much exposure can destroy our collagen and elastic tissue – a process called elastosis.

Mottled pigmentation. What does mottled pigmentation mean? That exposure to the sun can actually cause specific areas of your skin to look lighter or darker than the rest, giving you a mottled or almost spotty look.

Yellowing. It’s not uncommon for very young babies to have a slight yellowing of their skin that’s called jaundice. It comes from not getting enough sunlight, which makes sense since you’re supposed to keep infants out of the sun as much as possible. Ironically, adults can have their skin become yellow – or sallow – by getting too much sun.

Freckles. Here’s one you probably weren’t expecting. One of the little-known effects of excessive sunlight is that your skin might actually develop freckles.

Benign tumors. You know that the UV rays of the sun can cause skin cancer, but did you know that they also play a role in creating benign tumors? Since they’re benign, obviously they’re harmless, but that doesn’t mean that they’re comfortable or aesthetically pleasing.

Skin lesions. That probably sounds bad enough, but it gets worse. These aren’t just any skin lesions, but cancerous and pre-cancerous lesions. If you start to see these, it’s because the immune functions in your skin have just stopped working. Not a good sign.

Skin cancer. The ultimate fear of too much exposure to UV radiation. You don’t need me to tell you that skin cancer can be deadly, but even at its best it’s a dangerous, debilitating, and expensive disease to deal with.

These are the kinds of things you have to look forward to if you decide that you don’t really need to use sunscreen or can pick and choose on a whim.

– Michael Klein has been writing articles about skin care for companies like Skinfo Skincare, and their Elta MD products, for more than a decade. When not writing, Michael loves spending time with his family or shopping around the wonderful City of Chicago.