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Sunscreen spots you may be forgetting, according to dermatologists

Tips for choosing an effective sunscreen
Tips for choosing a sunscreen that is safe and effective 02:13

As weather warms and we spend more time outdoors, wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher is vital in helping protect skin from the sun's harmful rays. But experts say you could be forgetting some important steps and neglecting some often overlooked spots that need protection.

"The tops and back of the ears are commonly overlooked but susceptible to sunburn. This is also a common area for skin cancer in men," said Dr. Michelle Henry, founder of Skin & Aesthetic Surgery of Manhattan and clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College.

The delicate skin of the lips and around the eyes is also easily neglected and prone to sun damage, Henry said.

"Using an SPF-infused lip balm is crucial for protection," she said. "Consider using an eye cream or wearing sunglasses with UV protection to shield (the eye) area from the sun."

Henry also advises putting sunscreen on the upper neck and chest "for comprehensive coverage," as these exposed areas are frequently forgotten.

Another spot you might miss? Your head, including skin that may be exposed in your hair part or by thinning and balding patches. 

"Powder sunscreens can be a convenient option for the hair part, preventing liquid sunscreen from getting in your hair. While they provide some sun protection and reduce greasiness, it's important to note that their coverage is not as full coverage as liquid or lotion sunscreens," Henry said. "Consider additional protective measures like wearing a hat to shield your scalp and hair when spending prolonged periods in the sun."

There's one spot away from the face that's also frequently exposed but tends to get overlooked: hands. Henry suggested protecting them by applying sunscreen or using UV-protective gloves when necessary.

Other things to remember about sun protection

"Sunscreen is the most common and one of the easiest ways to (protect our skin), we just have to remember to use our sunscreens," Dr. Susan Massick, a dermatologist, recently told CBS News Philadelphia, noting it matters not only where but also when and how you apply. 

"(People) assume they can just apply it when they're already at their activity or they're already at the pool or the beach, but you actually have to apply it about 10-15 minutes beforehand. You also have to remember to reapply every two to three hours," Massick said. 

Reapplication is also important when swimming or sweating, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, as no sunscreen is fully waterproof or sweatproof.

Besides using sunscreen, Henry said it's essential to adopt other sun-safe habits like wearing protective clothing and seeking shade when needed.

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