A Dermatologist Asks: Are You Properly Applying Sunscreen?

We just recently wrote about summer skin care tips for anyone enjoying the weather in Los Angeles. Dermatologists may start to sound like sun-focused broken records for how often the subject of proper protection comes up, but as far as anyone knows, our primary source of heat and light isn’t going away anytime soon. We all have to learn how to live with it in a way that will keep us healthy long into our later years.

We’re raising the subject again now, because research presented to the British Association of Dermatologists at their annual conference in early July indicated that people miss about 10 percent of their total facial skin when they put on sunscreen.

That 10 percent may sound small, but is a potentially bigger problem since—the University of Liverpool reports—the neck and head, including the face, is where more than 90 percent of all BCC forms. That’s basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the most common and significantly avoided facial area when it comes to sunscreen are the eyelids and the region that encompasses the bridge of the nose, extending to the inner corner of either eye. Many bottles come with warnings against getting the product in, on, or near the eyes, which can explain the average person’s reluctance to rub the protection in there.

There is, however, an easy fix: sunglasses.

More than a set of lenses designed to protect open eyes from harsh glare, sunglasses can also filter out UV rays that can damage skin cells in the eyelid, where up to 10 percent of all skin cancers occur.

While modern treatments for skin cancer are incredibly effective, prevention remains the best strategy in protecting against both skin cancer and the negative cosmetic effects of the sun.

Learn more about skin cancer, sun protection, and more from Los Angeles dermatologists Dr. Derek Jones, Dr. Naissan Wesley, and Dr. Jeanette Black at Skin Care & Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills. For more information or to arrange a consultation, visit the practice’s Contact Us page or call 310-246-0495.

Written by Dr. Derek Jones

Dr. Derek Jones is a renowned Los Angeles and Beverly Hills area dermatologist practicing in cosmetic and general dermatology.