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4 Places to Make Sure You Use Sunscreen

Soak up this summer knowing you’re protected from head to toe.

Applying sunscreen for skin protection

By now we’ve all gotten the memo—sunscreen is as basic a healthy hygiene practice as brushing your teeth each day. We’ve learned to wear sunscreen on our faces year-round and to use a full-spectrum product that protects us from both UVA and UVB rays that can damage skin and put us at risk for skin cancer.

But to play with a common phrase—if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing a bit better. You may feel confident in your sun protection practices, but there is always room for improvement, simple steps you can take to make sure your summer is as safe as it is sunny. Start with these four areas of your body you might have glossed over on your way out into a summer day.

1)  Ears
With hair pulled up in the summer, the delicate skin on our outer ears are fully exposed to the sun’s rays but are rarely covered with sunscreen. Massage sunscreen cream or use a sunscreen stick to cover the ear lobes, the tops of the ears and behind the ears. The latter is an especially important place because we can’t easily see back there to notice skin changes that would warrant a visit to the dermatologist. Oh, and listen up—no sunscreen inside the ear, please!

2)  Scalps
Whether you are bald, have thinner hair spots or wear your hair with a defined part, your scalp needs a little love. A hat with UV-blocking fabric is one good idea, but sunscreen is important in this overlooked spot. Some sunscreens come in a foam that’s perfect to massage into a part, or a gel that’s easy to massage into the scalp without leaving greasy residue. Nearly 15 percent of skin cancers appear on the scalp, so you’ll rest easy knowing your head is covered.

3)  Toes
Your toes love massaging the sand, breathing in your flip flops or sandals and frolicking sock-free throughout the summer. But that leaves your tootsies, and the tops of your feet, exposed to the sun’s rays just as much as your shoulders and arms. Take your leg coverage all the way to your tippie-toes to make sure you can keep your feet on the ground and safe from the sizzling sun.

4)  Lips
Your lips, especially your lower lip, is a tricky area for two reasons. For one, the skin on your lips is thinner and more sensitive than elsewhere on your body. And secondly, even with regular sunscreen use, your good habits of drinking lots of water and eating healthy foods remove your well-intentioned sunscreen application. Oh and by the way, sunscreen tastes lousy, so it’s not something you want to ingest when you lick your lips in anticipation of a perfect ice cream cone. For these reasons, I never leave home without a lip balm with SPF in my bag or pocket. Easy to apply repeatedly throughout the day, low-profile to carry around and safe for my lips? Yes, please!

What’s your sunscreen routine?

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