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Forgetting This Super Sensitive Spot While Applying Sunscreen Could Increase Your Skin Cancer Risk


We all know applying sunscreen shields us against sun damage, but after slathering our arms, face, and legs in SPF, we often overlook another important part of our body that needs protection: our scalp.

Although a daily dose of vitamin D from the sun’s rays helps us fight signs of aging and boosts our mood, too much sun exposure without wearing sunscreen can increase our risk of skin cancer. Our scalps are especially vulnerable with the sun shining directly on our head.

Research claims our hair can act as a barrier between harmful ultraviolet rays, but as board-certified anesthesiologist Azza Halim, MD, explained to Popsugar, “The scalp skin being thinner and more vascular, especially as we age, scalp cancer can spread more readily and become more fatal as it can spread to the brain.”

We all know wearing a hat or head covering can help, but sometimes you may go without, especially when you’re taking a dip! Luckily, applying some sunscreen to your scalp is another simple way to lower your risk of skin cancer.

Don’t worry, we aren’t saying you need to rub SPF lotion on your scalp, which can leave your hair feeling greasy. Instead, try a spray like Banana Boat’s Hair and Scalp SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray (Buy on Amazon, $7.47), that is specifically made for the scalp. It checks all of the American Academy of Dermatology Association’s boxes by providing broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, being at least SPF 30, and water resistant! Plus, it’s ultra-lightweight and dries quickly, so all you need is a few spritzes for proper scalp coverage.

Banana Boat Hair and Scalp Defense Sunscreen Spray

Banana boat spray

Buy from Amazon, $7.47

Why we like it:

  • Broad-spectrum SPF 30
  • Fits American Academy of Dermatology Association guidelines
  • Dries quickly without a greasy residue

Happy customer: “Usually I only wear mineral sunscreen on my face. But, as my hair on my head becomes thinner, I’ve realized it’s time to protect up there as well. This spray works well on those occasions where you’re outside and unable to wear a baseball cap. It won’t sweat or run into your eyes and has a very pleasant fragrance. Also, perfect for hairy arms and legs.”

Of course, if you love wearing hats but don’t want to overheat with one on, board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, suggests wearing a hat that’s labeled with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50+. This allows you to block out 98 percent of the sun’s rays and look stylish while doing so (a win-win!).

Otherwise, protecting your scalp against sun damage is as easy as spraying sunscreen, so be sure to add this small habit to your everyday routine!

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