Welcome back to yet another installment of me doing everything I can to help you guys hop onto the total-body sun protection wagon.
It’s old news by now that you should be protecting yourself against UV rays every day, no matter the weather, so I won’t harp on that. Instead, I’m going to remind you that ALL of your exposed body skin needs protecting, even the places that are easy to forget or write off as “not getting that much sun, so it’s fine.”
Today I’m going to talk about a few places we often forget to apply sunscreen to, and I’m going to give you some alternative ways to ensure that they stay as protected as possible.
I’ll be honest. I very rarely put sunscreen on my eyelids, even though eyelid skin is incredibly thin and can definitely burn. I wear glasses all the time, and if I’m outside, I’m never without either a hat or my prescription sunglasses (usually both).
However, if you aren’t religious about wearing sunglasses (which you should be!), it’s really important to make sure your eyelids and surrounding eye area are well-protected. If your go-to sunscreen burns your eyes (this is common!), then I highly encourage you to either grab an eye cream with a high SPF rating or get a small tube of mineral-only sunscreen to dab onto your lids.
For extra protection, you can also grab SPF eyeshadow or SPF lid primer. I think this concept is cool, but just remember that you probably won’t be getting the full SPF coverage on the package unless you’re very heavy-handed with application. This is an “icing on the cake” option, not a replacement for actual sunscreen.
As a natural blonde with very pale skin and hair, I can’t even tell you how many times as a kid and teen that my scalp got sunburned. It’s an area that’s easy to forget, and it’s also easy to talk yourself out of applying sunscreen there because it will mess up your hair or look greasy.
Trust me, I feel this on a spiritual level. My hair and I are constantly in a battle of wills, so I’m hesitant to do anything that will mean I have to wash it more often than I absolutely have to.
But! Scalp protection is important. Your scalp is skin, after all, and it’s also the highest, most exposed part of your body, so it’s extra vulnerable to burning and damage. Plus, UV exposure is bad for your hair (especially if it’s color-treated).
I’m not saying you should suck it up and slather greasy SPF in your hair though. While SPF powders and sticks aren’t great for your face because you need so much of them to get adequate coverage, they’re totally reasonable for your scalp!
Other ways to protect your scalp and hair are to brush your hair into a cute ponytail or messy bun that covers your part and scalp, or to expand your hat wardrobe!
If you don’t go the hat route, at least make sure to protect your part and hairline.
3. Hands and Ears
It’s hard to keep sunscreen on your hands thanks to frequent washing and sanitizing, but your hands are one of the first places on your body to show signs of aging, so protecting them is important!
The best course of action is to keep a moisturizing SPF or a lightweight hand cream with SPF in your purse or bag. Be sure to reapply after every instance of sanitizing and hand washing!
You can also invest in UPF driving gloves if you spend a lot of time driving, riding public transit, or doing outdoor activities like gardening. I always like UPF clothing options because it’s a pain to remember to constantly reapply sunscreen.
Protecting your ears is important too, especially because they’re usually super exposed and the skin is thinner. Aside from keeping them covered, I find that it’s easiest for me to just remember to apply a little bit of my SPF hand cream or hair powder to my ears every time I use them. Once I established the habit, it was second nature!
Protect Yourself From Head to Toe
Diligent use of sunscreen on your face and chest is a great starting point, but you can’t neglect the rest of your body! It might feel tedious or time-consuming to make sure every crevice of your body is protected from the sun (I totally understand these feels), but it’s an important part of staying safe and healthy when you’re outdoors.
If full-body sunscreen reapplication just isn’t in the cards for you, check out my lazy girl’s guide to sun protection for more creative ways to stay out of the sun!