We all know the dangers of too much sun – but a study has found we may be putting ourselves at risk by failing to protect our eyelids.
Researchers discovered that vulnerable areas of skin are often missed – especially when applying moisturisers with sun protection factor (SPF) as opposed to conventional sunscreens.
This could be leaving people at risk of skin cancer, University of Liverpool academics warned.
Skin cancer is on the rise despite global initiatives to increase SPF use.
Researchers discovered that vulnerable areas of skin are often missed – especially when applying moisturisers with sun protection factor (SPF) as opposed to conventional sunscreens
Although daytime moisturisers with added SPF are convenient, the researchers were worried these were not being applied in a way that provides ‘sufficient protection’.
They studied how 84 people – 62 women and 22 men – applied both moisturiser and sunscreen, before using an ultra-violet-sensitive camera to take images of the volunteers to show much of their face they had covered.
Seventeen per cent of the face was missed with SPF moisturiser compared with 11 per cent with sunscreen.
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Around the eyelids – which are thin and more prone to cancer – 21 per cent of the area was missed with SPF moisturiser while 14 per cent was missed with sunscreen.
This was of particular concern because skin cancers most commonly occur on the head and neck, with eyelids having the highest incidence of the disease, the researchers wrote.
Squamous cell carcinoma – the second most common form of skin cancer in the UK – is also increasingly affecting patients’ eyelids.
This could be leaving people at risk of skin cancer, University of Liverpool academics warned
Participants completed a questionnaire about their sunscreen and SPF moisturiser application habits, with most unaware they had not been fully covering their faces, the study in the journal PLOS One found.
The authors said: ‘When applying both sunscreen and moisturiser, the area around the eyes is often missed, particularly near the nose. Participants covered a smaller area of the face when using moisturiser compared to sunscreen. We conclude that particular attention should be paid to the eyelid area when applying any SPF cream.’
Some 78 per cent of the participants failed to protect the area between the corner of their eyes and their nose, regardless of whether they were applying sunscreen or moisturiser. Sunglasses with UV filters can help protect missed areas, the experts said.
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