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/ Source: TODAY
By A. Pawlowski
Facial cream with sun block may not provide adequate protection from skin cancer and the user's error is to blame.
People do a worse job applying an SPF moisturizer to their face than a traditional sunscreen, missing more skin, especially the Around the eyelids region ̵
The eyelids and the medial cantal area are the thinnest of the eye nearest to the nose. skin on the body and therefore less protection from ultraviolet light, said Dr. Austin McCormick, a study co-author, and an ophthalmic and oculoplastic surgeon at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool, England.
Yet many people skip that part of the face when applying sunscreen without being aware of it, especially if they're Using the Daily Moisturizer with SPF added, the researchers found.
"We think that the stinging that occurs when the creams can seep into the eye may be a significant barrier to the full coverage of the eyelids," McCormick told TODAY. "(But) we do recommend SPF moisturizer and sunscreen for the eyelids and are not aware of any side effects with prolonged use."
'Mistaken belief that the face is fully protected'
For the study, researchers asked 84 people to apply a traditional SPF 30 sunscreen to their face during one visit and a moisturizer with SPF 30 protection during another.
Photos of their faces were then taken with a UV-sensitive camera while they were exposed to UV-A radiation.
Analysis of the photos showed people missed almost 17 percent of the face when using an SPF moisturizer, compared with 11 percent when applying traditional sunscreen.
The difference was "primarily due to reduced coverage of eyelid regions," the authors wrote. Only five of the 84 participants covered the vulnerable corner of the eye during both visits.
When asked about their experience afterwards, the vast majority of participants were convinced that they applied the products to all areas of their faces, suggesting their behavior was unconscious . The authors do not know why the SPF moisturizer was not well applied, but theorized that perhaps it was not as spreadable. as a traditional sunscreen or that moisturizer is sold in smaller bottles, so people just use less of it.
Tips from the experts:
The eyelids are an at-risk area that should be covered with sunscreen as much as it is. practical, McCormick said.
Other experts agreed. The eyelids are thin and can burn easily, noted Dr. Debra Wattenberg, a dermatologist in New York.
The findings show that physicians really should walk the patient through how they should apply sunscreen, added Dr. Adam Friedman, Professor and Intermediate Chair of Dermatology at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences
"I just ask if patients apply sunscreen to their face. I've never asked about the eyes. This study is literally going to change my practice, "he said.
Still, stinging is a real issue.
Wattenberg is recommended to be very careful when buying a separate product designed for this area. Stick products tend to work well, especially those with clear zinc, she said. For the mineral formulations that just have zinc or titanium, and to avoid chemical absorbers such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octinoxate – which sting the eyes, added Friedman.
The authors of the study still recommend SPF moisturizers because some protection is better than none, but if You're planning a long day in the sun, use sunscreen as thoroughly as possible and wear a hat and UV filter sunglasses for extra eyelash protection.
And be the lookout for any skin changes.
"If you notice a new bump or pimple-like lesions around your lids, be sure to have it examined by your doctor. "Wattenberg said."
NBC News Channel's Erika Edwards contributed to this report.