According to the American Cancer Society, about 5.4 million basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed each year in about 3.3 million Americans. While some of the high-risk areas to develop skin cancer on the body aren’t surprising, there are a few places commonly overlooked that you should make note of so you’ll be fully protected doing what you love in the sun.
Face, Neck & Arms
Because these areas are exposed to the sun nearly every day, it’s pretty obvious that they’d be at high risk. That said, it’s always worth mentioning these areas as a reminder to keep them protected at all times. It’s also interesting to note that the left side of our bodies is typically more affected than the right side because of all the time we spend in the driver’s seat. So if you’re road tripping, you might want to consider going double duty on your left side.
Within the facial region, the nose tends to be the most high-risk area, so always make sure to apply sunscreen here frequently. The neck is also one of the most problematic areas, especially for men, so don’t forget to extend your daily face sunscreen like MANDA Organic Sun Paste to cover the entire neck area.
While the face, neck, and arms are not the most shocking risk areas, there are a few surprising spots that are very vulnerable even though they don’t get tons of sun exposure.
Ears rank high on the list of areas commonly affected mostly because they’re often neglected when sunscreen is applied. Especially for men or women with short hair, it’s important not to overlook this area, as your ears receive lots of sun exposure and are highly sensitive. Along with regularly applying sunscreen, hats with at least a three-inch brim will help keep your ears safe from the sun’s harmful rays.
Unless you’re wearing a hat, the top of your head is being directly exposed to harmful UVA & UVB rays every day. Especially vulnerable are areas where there’s no hair protection, such as a part or balding spot. That said, your scalp is still at risk even if it’s covered by your hair, so hats are crucial to keep this area safe.
Many people are unaware that melanomas can actually develop in the pigmented tissues in the eye, including the iris. If that’s not scary enough, your delicate eyelid skin is also a common site for skin cancers, so don’t miss this area when applying sunscreen, and always keep those sunglasses on when possible! Luckily, MANDA stays where you put it, so it won’t run into your eyes or burn them.
While uncommon, skin cancers can actually develop underneath the nail beds, typically appearing like a bruise. Make sure to frequently monitor these areas for anything that looks suspicious.
Another vulnerable area is the palms of your hands, which is surprising since they don’t typically receive tons of sun. Identifying skin cancer on your palms can also be a challenge, as it can mistakenly appear as harmless dry skin or a minor cut. If there’s a spot on your hand that won’t seem to heal, make sure to have it checked out.
While again uncommon, both the soles of your feet and the sensitive skin between the toes are known to be vulnerable spots for cancer. When applying sunscreen to the tops of your feet, make sure to cover every inch!
Backs of Legs
The backs of the legs, especially the lower area and ankles, is a high-risk area, particularly for women. It’s easy to forget to apply sunscreen on the back of your body, so make sure you get help from a friend or use a mirror to cover your whole backside before hitting the beach.
Remember these little-known skin cancer hot spots the next time you’re stepping into the sun to ensure a happy and healthy outdoor adventure.