By now we’re pros at wearing SPF every day. We even get those sneaky spots, like the tops of our ears and hairline. So we admit we got a little worried when we found out we were still missing the most important spot of all: our eyelids.
According to the British Journal of Ophthalmology, five to ten percent of skin cancers occur on the eyelid. (Eek!) And thanks to a new study published by PLOS One, we now know that that delicate patch of skin is also the same place where we’re most likely to skip sun protection.
To find out, a team of University of Liverpool researchers had a group of 84 people apply SPF moisturizer how they normally would, then took pictures of their faces with UV-sensitive cameras. They found that people missed their eyelids across the board (which, at less than one millimeter thick, are the thinnest spots of skin on your body). *cue internal panic*
Moral of the story: Don’t forget your poor little eyelids—they need just as much protection as the rest of your face. But if you’re worried that it’s not safe to use sunscreen that close to your eyes (we were), fret not. The Skin Cancer Foundation says you can and should. But you do want to be careful about what formulas you choose, especially if you have sensitive skin or wear contact lenses. Reach for mineral formulas made with zinc (like the EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46), which are less irritating and won’t sting if you sweat; stick formulas that won’t run into your eyes; or, our personal favorite, SPF eyeshadow (like this one from Supergoop). Pop on a pair of UV-protected sunglasses and a wide-brim hat, and you’re good to go.