We love summer for a rainbow of reasons -- beach days, outdoor barbecues and summer travel to name a few. While we can't wait to take advantage of these sunny days, it's important to keep the dangers of the sun top of mind.
Even if you think you're pretty good about sun protection, it's crucial to remind yourself that a hat and a few dabs of sunscreen don't cut it. In fact, you can still get burned even in the shade due to UV radiation reflecting off surfaces such as sand or water. And yes, sunscreen does expire.
To make sure we're fully covered, we chatted with dermatologist Whitney Bowe about her top tips for sun protection and the one place we're forgetting to put sunscreen.
AOL: Where are some places on the body that people are forgetting to protect from the sun?
Dr. Bowe: Some of the worst burns that I see are on the tops of the feet and on the ears! People just completely forget to apply sunscreen to those areas! I also often remind my patients to use lip balm with SPF to be sure that their lips are protected! Other spots people often miss is the delicate skin on their eyelids and around their brows, along their hairline, under the straps of their bathing suits, and on the back of their necks.
Are lips more susceptible to sunburns?
Many people don’t realize that, like your skin, your lips can become sunburned. You can even develop skin cancer on your lips, which can be very aggressive in nature and prone to spreading. People sometimes mistake pre-cancers, or full-blown skin cancers on their lips for severe chapping, so they just keep rubbing moisturizer on their dry, chapped lips, but the chapping doesn’t go away. I’ve also seen melanoma on the lip so if you develop any new brown spots, it’s worth a trip to your derm!
Are there any specific ingredients we should be looking out for in products to protect us?
Yes, I recommend that my patients use lip balm with SPF. One of my favorites is eos active lip balm with SPF 30. It is sweat and water resistant for 80 minutes, which is really important during the hot summer months when we spend so much time swimming and in the heat. Also, the moisturizing shea butter is very nourishing, leaving your lips smooth and hydrated.
What are some other ways we can protect ourselves from the sun?
I take a 360-degree approach to sun protection. I absolutely encourage my patients to think outside the sunscreen box when it comes to healthy summer skin. For example, I love UPF fabrics for summer. I find that UPF 50+ rash guards and swimsuits have been a game changer for my family because you don’t need any sunscreen underneath the fabric! Also, nicotinamide is a vitamin that has been shown to decrease your skin of skin cancer! I use and recommend Heliocare Advanced, which protects against skin cancer and slows down signs of aging.
Related: At-home remedies for sunburns
- This article was initially published on AOL.com: The one place where you're forgetting to put sunscreen