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You’re Probably Applying Your Sunscreen All Wrong

Shielding yourself from the sun’s rays with SPF is essential no matter the time of year, though we all start thinking about it a little more when the warm weather arrives and we’re spending time outdoors. But even if you make the effort to wear sunscreen year-round, there’s a good chance you’re missing a key spot when applying. 

No, we aren’t talking about those pesky hard-to-reach areas that require a helping hand — it turns out most people aren’t properly covering their eyelids. Yes, eyelids! It’s a sensitive area that many of us may intuitively avoid when smearing products on our face, but it’s also one of the higher risk sections for skin cancer.

While limiting your exposure to the sun with shade and clothing is the most effective way of avoiding damage to your skin, it’s important to wear a sunscreen or moisturizer with SPF as well. But a recent study published by PLOS ONE from the University of Liverpool, claims that even those of us who are meticulous about applying (and re-applying) sunscreen throughout the day might be completely missing this the vulnerable area. And if SPF moisturizer is your go-to, you’re even more likely to pass over it without realizing. 

“Analysis revealed that application of moisturizer was significantly worse than sunscreen in terms of area of the whole face missed.” Yikes! Like sunscreen, moisturizer users were forgetting their eyelid area, but also had a greater lack of general coverage overall. Take a look at the comparison UV photos below: 

Sunscreen vs SPF moisturizer

(Photo Credit: PLOS ONE)

After seeing these pics, hopefully next time you apply sunscreen or moisturizer with SPF you’ll remember to put it all over your face, eyelids included, not matter how strange it may seem. 

If you’re looking for some guidance, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reviews and lists both sunscreen and SPF moisturizers for their safety and effectiveness. The organization ranks products from 1 to 10, with those closer to 1 being the best option. Anyone looking for a regular sunscreen might want to pick up their top choice, Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry Touch SPF 30 ($10.93, Amazon), while anyone looking for a moisturizing option might look into the highly ranked DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30+ ($29, Amazon). 

Whichever you choose, just remember to keep your peepers protected, too!

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