When it comes to mineral sunscreens, application matters. In order for them to be truly effective, you have to apply enough, and reapply often.
But have you ever given much thought about where you apply it? I’m sure you have or you wouldn’t be reading this blog! However, even the most seasoned sunscreen veterans (including us Badgers) can use a reminder every once in a while. So here are three places that you might be forgetting to apply sunscreen but should be paying special attention to instead.
This one I’m totally guilty of. It never occurred to me to put sunscreen on my ears until I read that the ears are actually a high risk area for skin cancer. This is because the ears are the most sun-exposed, and most people (two out of three) don’t think to apply sunscreen there at all.
How to apply: since the ears have many nooks and crannies, take your time to make sure you are applying an even coat to all exposed surfaces. This includes the bowl and the backs of the ears (click the link above for a diagram). I love Badger’s SPF 35 All Season Sport Sunscreen Stick for this purpose. (Actually, I use the Kids version, because it smells so good!) The large stick allows me to glide it over the big areas, and then I use my fingers to work it into the smaller, harder-to-reach places. (As a side note: don’t put sunscreen in the ear canal.)
If you don’t like sunscreen on your ears, then become a diligent hat wearer. Just be sure that the hat has a 360 degree brim and, for your best sun protection, a UPF rating.
2. Tops of the Hands
When I think about it, the tops of my hands are almost always exposed to sunlight. Gone are the days when women wore white gloves – the only gloves I wear these days are for gardening or shoveling!
However, photoaging from prolonged exposure manifests itself on the hands as wrinkles, brown spots, and leathery skin, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. So as they suggest, give your hands a hand! Apply sunscreen every day to the back of your hands, same as you do to your face.
How to apply: On days when I am wearing long sleeves, I apply a dime-sized dollop to the back of my hands and then rub it in. My favorite sunscreen for this is Badger’s SPF 30 Unscented Sunscreen Cream in sheer tint. For days when I am wearing short sleeves or a tank top, I make sure to apply sunscreen from my shoulders to my fingertips. This may take a little more time, but the payoff is worth it in the long run.
3. Tops of the feet
If you are wearing shoes or sandals that do not completely cover your feet, be sure to slather ‘screen onto the tops of your feet as well! According to the American Podiatric Medical Association there are many causes of skin cancer on the feet, so it is especially important to get your feet checked during routine physical exams.
How to apply: follow the same instructions as given for the tops of your hands. Just be sure not to apply sunscreen to the soles of your feet, as it could get a little slippery.
Honorable mention: the scalp
Just because you might not be able to see sunburn on your scalp, doesn’t mean it can’t happen! While there are powdered products made for protecting your scalp, I think the best and most inexpensive option is a big ol’ floppy hat, which protect not just the scalp but the ears, face, and neck. Just be sure that the hat you choose is actually deflecting the sun’s rays. Certain kinds of hats (like trucker hats) don’t always do the trick.
Did we miss a spot? Let us know your tips in the comments below!