We’re not saying it’s easy: in fact, as far as I can tell, the whole “sunburn buddy system” – where you entrust a spotter make sure you don’t go all crab-like and painful, cooked under the warm sun – was introduced just so that we don’t have to put sun cream on ourselves.
Not only is it annoying, and greasy, and a clothes-ruiner if you spill a bit, to cap it all off, you’re almost certainly applying it totally wrong, missing key areas of your face.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool recently asked 57 participants to apply sun screen to their face “as normal” – scare quotes our own on account of only-slightly-less-recent reports that almost a quarter of Brits don’t wear any sun protection at all – before photos were taken of each with a UV-sensitive camera to track the application and see where they missed. And yeah, turns out people aren’t very good at it at all.
Per University of Liverpool’s announcement: “On average people missed 9.5 per cent of the whole face, with the most commonly missed areas being the eyelids (13.5 per cent) and the area between the inner corner of the eye and the bridge of the nose (77 per cent).”
“The researchers then asked the participants back to repeat the experiment, this time giving extra information about skin cancers of the eyelid region. Armed with this information there was a slight improvement in the level of sunscreen coverage with 7.7% per cent of the face left unprotected.”
Dr Kevin Hamill, from the University’s Department of Eye and Vision Science, said: “It’s worrying that people find it so hard to sufficiently apply sunscreen to their face, an area which is particularly at risk of skin cancer due to the amount of sun exposure it receives. Perhaps the most important thing to take away from this research is the importance of sunglasses. Most people consider the point of sunglasses is to protect the eyes, specifically corneas, from UV damage, and to make it easier to see in bright sunlight. However, they do more than that, they protect the highly cancer prone eyelid skin as well.”
You heard the doctor: there’s never been a better time to invest in a new pair of shades (or to not leave yourself unnecessarily at risk of developing melanoma).
(h/t Mental Floss)