In a recent online article, Men’s Health revealed some of the most surprising spots for skin cancer. I take time in the sun very seriously and believe that making sure you have sunscreen on is very important, especially if you are driving. Did you know that drivers are more likely to develop skin cancer on the right side of their body? Think about it. In the summer time, how often do we stick our left arm out the window? Melanoma occurred on the left side of the body in 52% of people studied. That’s crazy.
However, having some sunscreen stashed in your glove compartment or back pocket may not be enough to battle skin cancer. There are other steps you can take to protect other areas that can be effected as well. With summer upon us and a plethora of outdoor activities coming our way with Canada Day and Independence Day around the corner, I thought we could take a look at the dangers and how we can protect ourselves.
The Danger: According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancers found on the eyelid account for as many as 5 to 10 percent of all skin cancers. “Cancer near the eyes can end up being a bit more aggressive because many mistake early cancer signs as a sty, an eye infection, or even a patch of inflammation of the skin,” says dermatologist Susan Butler, M.D., of the California Skin Institute.
Protect Yourself: Make sure that the sunglasses have the ability to block out 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB light. And avoid small glasses—go for a large frame, like aviators, to prevent light from creeping in.
THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD
The Danger: “As guys get older, their hair thins, which results in less protection against the sun,” says Scott W. Fosko, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. The most common type of cancer found on the head is basal cell carcinoma, which looks like a raised or rough scab-like spot on the scalp, Fosko says. The spot can form a sore through irritation (like rubbing it with a towel) or bleed spontaneously.
Protect Yourself: Never leave home without a hat—especially if your strands are thinning. Aim for one with at least a 4-inch rim or a large bill. Fosko suggests companies like Wallaroo and San Diego Hat Co., both of which make hats with sun protection built into the fabric.
The Danger: Your lips don’t just get action when you kiss—they also burn up under the sun. Your lower lip is especially helpless because it receives more direct sunlight than your upper lip, Butler says.
Protect Yourself: Use lip balm, and use it often. The Skin Cancer Foundation lists numerous lip balms that have adequate SPF protection, like Avon’s Anew Solar Advance Lip Sunscreen SPF 30, Rite Aid’s Rx Suncare SPF 45 Lip Balm, and Banana Boat’s Sport Performance Sunscreen Lip Balm SPF 50.
Here’s one general rule-of-thumb any time you’re squirting on sunscreen: When trying to determine how much lotion to use, apply the equivalent of a shot glass, says Elizabeth Hale, M.D., a dermatologist and clinical professor at NYU’s Langone Medical Center. That’s if you’re going to the beach and your arms, legs, chest, back, and face will be exposed.