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Summer Sun Safety: Strange Places We Get Sunburns (PHOTOS)

Strange Places We Get Sunburns

Fingernails, eyelids and the tops of our ears -- these delicate body parts somehow get left behind when we put on sunscreen.

With National Sun Awareness Week continuing in Canada, it's important to note how the most common cancer in Canada is skin cancer.

"When you think about it, these types of cancers are preventable, I think we can do better," says dermatologist Dr. Julia Carroll from Toronto.

And with summer around the corner, Carroll sees patients with all types of burns -- some of them in strange places. But for her, the concern is more about ignoring sunscreen all together. The Canadian Dermatology Association estimates 5,800 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed this year, causing 970 deaths, the CBC says. Yet, numbers like these might not urge people to open up a bottle of sunscreen. Carroll says most people just aren't aware of the health risks.

"Some people are just lazy. It's just one more thing to do in the morning and others still like having a tanned look," she says.

But getting a tanned look is fine, as long as you keep your skin protected. If you're travelling this summer or heading to a local beach, Carroll recommends to stock up on sunscreen and use at least a "golf ball size" amount for your whole body. She also warns Canadians to reapply their sunscreen every two hours -- especially if you're swimming or sweating. And don't skip those easily forgotten areas that are prone to sunburns.

Also, if you've spent most of your summer not wearing any sunscreen (you should be wearing sunscreen 365 days a year), Carroll says you may not notice anything until you hit 40. "Ninety per cent of what we interpret as ageing is actually sun damage from UV rays," she says. In one case, a study revealed a 69-year-old truck driver's face looked dramatically older on one side after prolonged sun exposure.

Think your T-shirts can protect you from getting burns? Here are 10 strange places you can get sunburnt:

Top Of The Ears


Top Of Ears

Just because you're wearing a sun hat, it doesn't mean you should skip applying sunscreen on your ears. Dermatologist Dr. Julia Carroll says most people think they're being protected, but ear burns are quite common.

Behind Your Neck

Yes, you could've just forget to put on sunscreen behind your neck, but often, people with long hair think they're being protected, Carroll says.


This is a rare occasion, but some people -- especially if they're on certain medications or antibiotics -- can end up with yellow-toned nails after being exposed to the sun.

Tops Of Feet:

Sometimes we're so busy applying sunscreen on our legs, we often forget about the top of our feet.

Arm Holes

You may want to be careful with this one. If you're going on vacation or spending the day at the beach, you should consider applying sunscreen near your arm and neck holes to avoid sunburns. Even though your skin is technically covered, our body's movements could expose our skin.

Clothing With Holes

No, we're not talking about clothing that is worn and torn overtime -- even though you still need sunscreen if you wear any of those. Lace, crochet and any other type of clothing with intentional openings can leave burn marks on your skin.

The Scalp:

Our hairlines can also get burnt. Carroll recommends applying a thin layer of sunscreen -- yes, onto our heads -- to avoid redness and itchiness.

"The Corona Effect"

These cases are rare, but Carroll has seen them in her office. Most of us can agree that nothing beats the summer heat like a glass of cold beer. But Carroll says, in rare occasions, when people are squeezing limes, they could squirt acid onto their skin and cause a reaction with the sun. She's also seen people with dripping marks on legs and hands -- especially on waitresses.

Awkward Leg Areas

Carroll says you should reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially if you're sweating or getting wet. If you're sitting or lounging outside, most of us cross our legs, which can rub off pre-applied sunscreen.


Eyelids are another painful and common area. Just because our eyes are open, it doesn't necessarily mean they're protected. However, if you're looking for the right sunscreen for your eyes, make sure you choose a light-weight cream for the face.

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