A new study out of England shows that most people avoid putting sunscreen around their eyes and on their eyelids. Researchers believe this finding merits a public health campaign because skin cancer caused by UV rays is extremely common on the eyelids.
Scientists at the University of Liverpool took UV sensitive pictures of 57 participants both before and after they put sunscreen on their faces. After reviewing the images, researchers found that most participants missed about 9.5 percent of their faces.
The two major areas people failed to apply sunscreen were on the eyelids and in the periorbital regions. Study authors note that 14 percent of participants didn't put any sunscreen on their eyelids.
As of today, the eyelids are the number one site of nonmelanoma skin cancers. Between five to 10 percent of all skin cancers occur on the eyelids. 95 percent of these eyelid cancers are either basal cell carcinomas or squamous cell carcinomas.
Most doctors believe the main reason eyelids are more susceptible to skin cancer is simply because they are so thin. It's easier for UV rays to penetrate deep into unprotected eyelids, especially if you are lying down underneath the sun.
Study authors urge health officials to create public information campaigns on the importance of putting on sunscreen near and around the eyelids. To help encourage people to put sunscreen around their eyes, researchers suggest promoting tear-free sunscreen solutions.
Dermatologists recommend only putting a thin film of tear-free sunscreen around the eyes. Be careful not to get any of the sunscreen inside the eyeball. A few popular companies that now produce tear-free sunscreens include Neutrogena, Banana Boat, and Coppertone.
Harry Pratt, Lee D. Troughton, and Dr. Yalin Zheng were just a few of the major researchers involved in this study. You can find the full study in the most recent edition of Public Library of Science under the title, "UV imaging reveals facial areas that are prone to skin cancer are disproportionately missed during sunscreen application."