Scientists at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom have warned of the dangers of sun exposure to the skin.

They highlight a particularly sensitive area of the face that is all too often forgotten when applying sunscreen.

The dangers linked to sun exposure shouldn’t be taken lightly, with one danger being an increased risk of developing skin cancer.

Even if you regularly use sunscreen, you might not be applying it properly to achieve full coverage, according to the scientists whose work has been published in the PLOS One journal.

Their study observed how people applied sun protection products by asking 84 university students to apply sunscreen and a moisturising cream with SPF (sun protection factor) to their faces on two separate occasions.

The volunteers were then exposed to UV (ultraviolet) rays and photographed using a UV-sensitive camera.

On average, 11% of the entire face was not covered by sunscreen, compared to 17% when applying the moisturiser, the study reveals.

The area around the eyelids was the area most often forgotten.

The authors of the study warn that the face – particularly the area around the eyelids – has a higher risk of skin cancer.

“Particular attention should be paid to the eyelid area when applying any SPF cream,” said study co-author Dr Austin McCormick.

The consultant ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon noted that “alternative methods of protecting the eyelids should be considered such as UV filter sunglasses”.

While exposure to the sun is an excellent source for vitamin D, the researchers noted that most people spend long periods in the sun after using moisturising creams that include sun protection.

When they do it without completely covering their faces, this increases their risk of skin cancer.

The authors note that the results confirm those of previous studies and highlight the need to raise public awareness of vulnerable areas and sun protection strategies. — AFP Relaxnews