The prospect of having skin cancer is scary, but it's something that could be easily avoided with a couple of easy steps.
Although most people use sun protection on their face and body on a daily basis, most of them actually skip on a very vulnerable spot: the eyelids. Putting on shades as a shield against the sun is a great help, but not doing so exposes the eyelid to the risk of skin cancer.
Sunscreen Vs. Moisturizer With SPF
In a study published in the journal PLOS One on Wednesday, April 3, a number of participants were given moisturizers with SPF to apply on their skin. Based on this experiment, the researchers found that most participants skip 20 percent of the region of the eyelids. They conducted another test the participants were given actual sunscreen and discovered that only 14 percent of them skipped that area.
"People were applying cream and going out in the sun thinking they were protected," said Austin McCormick, the study's principal author. "And yet one of the most vulnerable areas was left unprotected."
Only 10 percent of skin cancer occurs on the eyelids but if left ignored, the result can be deadly. According to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 70 percent of eyelid skin cancers occur on the lower eyelid, not the upper one where eyeshadow is applied, so it is highly essential to always include this area in one's sunscreen routine.
Keeping In Check
Although eyelid cancer is bad, it's actually quite slow-growing. Regular checking for any irregularities in the eyelid area is important. People should also be aware if there is any itching, bumps, or bleeding in the upper and lower eyelids.
"If you're noticing a loss of your eyelashes — medically called 'madarosis' — along your upper or lower eyelids, this indicates the cancer is generally more invasive and has reached a deeper layer," said Dr. Vander Kolk, a plastic surgeon at Baltimore's Mercy Medical Center. "The earlier you catch it, the easier it is to take care of."
Other Skin Cancer-Prone Areas
Aside from the eyelids, other areas of the body that are prone to skin cancer include the tip of the ears, the bottom lip, and the sides of the neck. One of the primary reasons why they're more prone to cancer is the thinness of the skin surrounding them, making them really vulnerable to the sun's UV rays.
Dermatologists everywhere are campaigning for skin cancer awareness, especially during the summer season. They recommend to always wear sunscreen during the day, and make sure to include the eyelid area. For more protection, people should always use an umbrella when walking, and pair it with sunglasses.