Sunshine State Solutions + Services

Sorry, But You Should Be Way More Paranoid About Eyelid Cancer

Sorry, But You Should Be Way More Paranoid About Eyelid Cancer

Ahhh, a relaxing day at the pool, beach, boat or club. 🏝

Your checklist list before heading out the door:

✅Applying sunscreen (celeb dermatologist Dr. Pat Wexler’s picks here) at least 15 minutes before heading out.

✅UPF protective cover-up, like the cute ones Dana sourced here from Mott50.

✅Leave-in hair conditioner or moisturizing oil massaged into your locks to protect its color.

✅Floppy hat. 

✅Sunnies 🕶 (preferably polarized)

You find a comfy place, set up your umbrella then unpack for your outing: water, snacks, maybe your next read.

Comfortably ensconced in the shade, perhaps you swap your sunnies for reading glasses, and delve into your book, phone, iPad or tablet. 

That swap is where the sun —  and everything reflecting it — gets you, according to ophthalmic plastic surgeon/top doc Dr. Richard Palu. Nearly one-third of his practice comprises reconstructive surgeries on mostly female patients with basal cell carcinomas (BCC), the most common form of skin cancer, on their eyelids.

“The thin eyelid skin is the most sensitive on the body and easily damaged by sun exposure. It’s estimated 5-10% of all skin cancers occur there,” he shared. “It has nothing to do with age. It’s the result of a cumulative lifetime of sun exposure. Our brows provide some protection for the upper lids, but there’s no shielding barrier for the lower lids, so it’s where I see the majority of cases.”

His youngest patient so far this year is 25; this week, a 47-year-old. 

“Think about this,” Palu adds. “with every coffee run, drive to work, or kids drop-off at school, you’re likely running out the door without fully protecting your eyes from UV rays." 

Skin Cancer Awareness month could run 365 in Florida according to Blue Cross/Blue Shield. 

The facts:

  • Our state is the nation’s skin cancer capital, affecting 7.1% of us. 

  • Four Florida cities/metro regions comprise the USA’s top most cancer-ridden: Sarasota-Bradenton, Fort Pierce-Port St. Lucie, West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, and Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay.

  • 90% of diagnoses are basal cell carcinomas (BCC), a slow-growing type of skin cancer that does not spread to distant sites in the body though Dr. Palu said BCCs can spread to nearby areas including behind the eye and the brain. 

“Skin cancer is relentless. When left untreated, it grows into the nerves and it’s very painful. Best to nip it in the bud early if you notice a mark or stye that doesn’t disappear.”

If you’re spending money on your lash extensions and pricey eye creams, taking his advice is a no-brainer: “It’s not practical to apply sunscreen on your lids as you risk irritating the eyes. When applying it from the brow and above, then cheekbones and below, make up the gap by going big with your sunglasses and that brimmed hat.”

At FBP, we’ve got you covered for under $100. Our picks: 

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Under $50

While I love a chic straw hat, the weave might allow sun through the tiny gaps.

Why not try a lightweight UPF hat from Aussie-inspired Wallaroo, which earned the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation.

Tip: before buying any hat, try it on outside to see if rays are penetrating.

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Think Jackie O

I’m a fan of Peepers and its cute large-lens options for both no-correction polarized and readers (which I need) at $25 and under.

To combat the sun’s reflection when swimming, consider an additional pair of tight-fitting sunnies plus a water-friendly fabric cap that secures at the chin so neither floats away. 

Be a star, not a stat, and go have fun! 

(BEAUTEOUS) SWIMSUIT-CLAD CHICK PIC: CHELSEA GATES

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