When it comes to protecting myself from the sun, I am definitely not perfect. This is one of the reasons I wanted to work on this sun care themed week of content. I’ve had more than my fair share of mistakes that have been embarrassing at best and painful at worst. I’m not going to sit and preach about slathering on sun cream and staying out of the midday sun without admitting that the reason I would ever say these things is that I’ve made the mistake of not doing these things and paid the price in the form of painful sun burn, heat stroke or just going pink in awkward looking patches. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made before is when I’m trying to be good and apply sun cream but then just manage to forget some areas or just don’t do a good enough job of applying and then end up with a confused burn – feeling sure I was thorough but clearly pink skin showing I definitely missed a spot or two.
I thought it might be helpful to round up some of the ‘danger spots’ that are most prone to being missed, overlooked or just being more exposed to burning. Essential a blog-post check list for the areas to make sure you pay attention to, to avoid those missed bits or the spots you take for granted!
Feet, ankles & lower leg
The spots to be aware of are the most common sites for malignant melanoma to occur. For men this is on the chest or back. For women it’s more likely on the legs, between the knee and feet. If you think about it, your ankles or shins are one of the spots that tend to get the most exposure – if you ‘get them out’ as soon as the weather turns a little warmer and how often do you put cream on them? I for one have my ankles out pretty much all the time from Spring to Autumn and before I knew this was such a danger spot would never even think to put sun cream on them day to day! One of the biggest risks is that regular low-intensity exposure. More so in many ways than that one-off burn.
The back of the neck
Always a spot that’s easy to miss. Mainly because it’s behind you so it’s easy to ‘forget’ it’s exposed a lot of the time. Even if you remember to put cream on your face and décollete area then the back is easy to neglect. As someone with longer hair I tend to have a physical barrier so it stays protected. But if I have my hair up on a hot day or you’re someone with shorter hair then please remember to give this spot a covering of cream!
Speaking of the neck and décolleté area – did you know that sun cream and perfume are not good friends? The ingredients in perfume can break down the specific ingredients that are designed to protect you and leave you vulnerable – even when you think you have made your best efforts to use sun cream in those exposed spots. The way around it? Apply perfume to your clothes rather than your skin if wearing sun cream so you can get the scent benefit without risking your sun protection.
If there’s one area of skin that’s on constant ‘exposure’ then it has to be the hands. Along with your face, there’s nowhere else that will be getting quite as much UVA & UVB exposure year round as your hands. It no wonder it is the most neglected area and show the signs of ageing quickly. The easiest way to protect them is to add a hand cream that contains a good level of SPF into your day to day routine. The Ultrasun Hand SPF has to be one of the first products that really caught my eye from the brand – a hand cream with a great level of SPF wasn’t something I’d come across before and as a dedicated hand cream user due to my ongoing dry-hand issues then it really got my attention.
Eyes & Lips
Take great care around the eye area, the thinnest skin we have. Avoid excess product in a delicate area where it’s easy to create puffiness with build up. With a specific UV Mineral Eye Protector you can ensure you have something to really protect the delicate eye area, helping to prevent any UV-related ageing. With SPF 30 it offers a good level of protection in a way that feels lightweight and works with make-up over the top.
Don’t forget the lip area. The upper lip is very exposed to the sun and the rays often reflect into the cupid’s bow area. The lower lip has a little shadow which helps to protect this area. Hence, the upper lip shows the signs of ageing long before the lower. Do compare the lip lines, and I bet you’ll notice they’re more prevalent on the top lip!
Ultrasun also do a specific lip balm in SPF 30 that I tend to use on my lips and also on the tops of my ears. Not because they are in need of extra moisture, but it’s a quick and easy way to apply SPF to that danger spot for burning!
Last but by no means least is the scalp. If you have ever burnt your scalp then you will know it’s a sort of pain and discomfort that you do not want to experience again. Trying to brush your hair after burning your scalp? Just the thought of it makes my eyes water. The challenge here is finding something to protect your scalp and hair without looking like you skipped washing your hair for a month… using a specific hair and scalp protector is a good way to look after this sun-facing spot. The Ultrasun Daily UV Hair Protector is a transparent spray that is easy to apply and gives great coverage for the hair and scalp, can simply be sprayed over the hair and scalp as a fine mist to offer long lasting protection against damaging environmental influences such as UV rays, chlorine and salt water. Especially helpful if you colour your hair as nothing strips it more!
Other spots to watch for (in my experience):
Around the edges of your clothes – especially the edges of bikini bottoms & the ‘under-boob’ spot on top. Your back – get a friend to apply so you’re not guessing you got it all covered. Hairline -easily missed if not being thorough! The area next to your watch on your wrists – for some reason this spot I always miss! Because it’s so close to my watch I clearly just miss that area and don’t apply close enough. But using the hand cream and applying all the way up can avoid this.
- How you apply sun cream matters! Do it first thing, do it indoors and apply enough. Regardless of brand chosen, any application in direct sunlight (IE when you’re already on the sun lounger) increases evaporation (over 60% of protection can be lost in direct sunlight) before it’s had a chance to bond with the skin, reducing its power to protect. Apply liberally to all exposed, or potentially exposed, parts of the body. You are also more likely to miss bits if you are rushed for time. Ultrasun’s brand new patented Lamellar structure technology is composed of fine, alternating layers, that form an even bond with the skin. This innovative technology ensures overlap of coverage that guarantees complete and even distribution to continually protect at all depths of the skin. This is why Ultrasun products require just one application a day to deliver long lasting, high level protection from both UVA, UVB and Infrared A rays.
- However other sun creams (even those which claim to be water-resistant) often need to be applied more frequently.
Suncare week is sponsored by Ultrasun