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Stocking-stuffer gift ideas: Lip balms, sunscreens


Dr. Lawrence Mark

If you’re in need of some stocking-stuffer ideas, consider lip balms and sunscreens for those on your list.

Lawrence A. Mark, MD, PhD, assistant professor of dermatology at Indiana University School of Medicine and a researcher at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, said these make ideal gifts because people often forget to protect their skin and lips during the winter when the sun’s rays aren’t as direct.

“You can’t see or feel the sun’s ultraviolet rays, but some of them can harm you,” Dr. Mark said.

Because of that, Dr. Mark recommends these tips for protection against the sun during the winter months:

  • Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to exposed skin. Whatever sunscreen you use should state on the bottle that it is “broad-spectrum,” which means that it covers both the UVA and UVB portions of sunlight.
  • Wind burn can chap skin so lip balm is important. Look for ones that have an SPF of 15 to 30 already included in the product.

Protecting oneself from the sun’s harmful rays is important, even in the winter months. According to the National Cancer Institute, there will be 91,270 estimated new cases of melanoma in 2018. An estimated 9,320 will die of the disease in 2018.

The main types of skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma. Melanoma is much less common than the other types but much more likely to invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body. Most deaths from skin cancer are caused by melanoma.

“Watch out for what we call the ‘ugly duckling’ sign,” Dr. Mark said. “If you have a spot that just doesn’t look like or act like any other, it is best to have a doctor examine it.”

Adding a lip balm or sunscreen to stockings is the perfect reminder for those on your list to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays in winter.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Michael Schug

Michael Schug, an award-winning communicator, is the communications manager at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center. In this role, he promotes the impactful research generated by the center’s nearly 250 scientists and physician-scientists to both external and internal audiences.