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People Are Forgetting to Apply Sunscreen On a Very Important Part of Their Body

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Getting sunscreen in your eyes is right up there with brain freeze and chopping onions—but you know what's worse? Skin cancer.

People miss about 10 percent of their face when applying sunscreen, most commonly neglecting their eye area, according to new research from the University of Liverpool. This helps explain why 5 to 10 percent of skin cancers occur on the eyelids.

For the study, 57 people applied sunscreen to their faces as they normally would. The researchers then used a UV camera to see which parts of their faces had sunscreen and which parts were missed. On average, people missed about 10 percent of their face, and the eyelids and inner eye corner area were most commonly missed.

Most sunscreen makers warn to avoid the eye area, which means you could follow the bottle's instructions to a T, applying a shot glass amount, and reapplying adequately, and still end up with skin cancer from the sun. The sun is ruthless, so dermatologists commonly suggest relying on multiple forms of sun protection (shade, sunscreen, protective clothing), not just assuming that a high SPF is foolproof. The good news: That means you don't have to start slathering sunscreen on your lids. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests wearing sunglasses and a hat and avoiding direct sunlight as the best ways to protect your eyes. Choose sunglasses that block UVA and UVB light (oversize frames are a plus).

Thankfully, we seem to be living in an increasingly sun-aware world. Tanning beds are no longer in vogue and CVS quit selling tanning oil. Still, many people don't realize the importance of sunglasses, according to Kevin Hamill, Ph.D., from the University of Liverpool's Department of Eye and Vision Science.

"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," he said in a press release. "However, they do more than that—they protect the highly cancer-prone eyelid skin as well."

So pat yourself on the back for your daily SPF habit. Just make sure you protect your eyes, too.

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