When Using Moisturizers With Sunscreen, Don't Miss Around the Eyes

The UV images show the coverage of sunscreen and SPF moisturiser. Image Liverpool University

The UV images show the coverage of sunscreen and SPF moisturiser. Image Liverpool University

A United Kingdom study has found that neglecting to apply moisturisers containing SPF to the area around the eye may increase people's risk of skin cancer.

While most participants felt they applied sunscreen correctly, they missed a crucial part: their eyelids (and sometimes their face entirely).

The research team at the University of Liverpool studied how 84 people (62 women and 22 men) put on both SPF moisturiser and sunscreen, then took photos with a UV-sensitive camera showing how well they had covered their faces. "If using moisturizer, we advise one with SPF [sun protection factor]: any SPF is better than none but it should not be considered the equal of sunscreen".

Researchers discovered that vulnerable areas of skin are often missed - especially when applying moisturisers with sun protection factor (SPF) as opposed to conventional sunscreens.

A new study has found that people who apply a moisturizer containing SPF or sunscreen may be missing the facial areas that are most at risk of developing skin cancer. "And yet one of the most vulnerable areas was left unprotected". Of those using moisturizer, 21 percent missed their eyelids, a crucial and commonly missed area of the face.

Application was significantly worse for the moisturizer than the sunscreen in terms area of the whole face missed (11.1% missed with sunscreen compared to 16.6% for SPF moisturizer).

"People don't apply foundation evenly, they don't apply it everywhere, and they don't apply enough for it to be adequate protection on its own", says Downie.

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This was of particular concern because skin cancers most commonly occur on the head and neck, with eyelids having the highest incidence of the disease, the researchers wrote.

Be sure you rub the sunscreen into your skin thoroughly (you really shouldn't still see white marks).

"The area around the eyelashes and between the eyelids and the nose is least likely to be covered".

According to Heather Walker, chair of the National Skin Cancer Committee at the Cancer Council Australia, sunscreen is not the solution.

"And you need to put it on and let it soak in before you go out, so the liquid has time to evaporate out of the emulsion and form a protective film", she said.

Re-apply the same amount of sunscreen every two hours while you're in the sun. "Alternative methods of protecting the eyelids should be considered such as UV filter sunglasses", said the authors. Anyone who notices a bump or lesion around their eyelids should be examined by a doctor.

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