You can get skin cancer: In the irises of your eyes
Just like you can get freckles in your eyes (it’s true!) you can also get other types of sun damage in your irises, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. But isn’t skin cancer supposed to be, well, on skin? The truth is that any part of your body exposed to the sun is vulnerable and even though we may not think about it often, our eyes are one of the most exposed parts of our bodies. “Ninety percent of all skin cancers are due to sun damage,” says Bobby Awadalla, MD, a dermatologist and CEO of UVO. “And the more sun damage an area receives the more likely you are to develop a skin cancer in that location.” This is why you need to be vigilant about protecting your peepers. Since you can’t put sunscreen in your eyes (ouch!), make sure you wear UV-blocking sunglasses and get regular checkups with an eye doctor. And if you notice any strange new spots of color in your irises or a change in their color, make an appointment, stat. And make sure you never ignore these 10 places when you check for skin cancer.
Under your fingernails
With the popularity of gel manicures, fingers and toes are now in the hot seat—literally, thanks to the UV lights used to seal the gel coat. You hopefully already know how damaging tanning beds can be to your skin, says Stephen Stahr, MD, of The Dermatology Associates of San Antonio in Texas, and those quick-dry devices are basically mini tanning beds for your nails. While you can’t get skin cancer on your nails, the damage can penetrate through the nail to the skin underneath. To make sure you’re safe, he recommends putting sunscreen everywhere, including on the tips of your fingers and toes. In addition, take a moment to examine your nail beds without polish on a regular basis because this black mark on your nail could mean you have skin cancer.
In your butt crack
One of the strangest places Dr. Stahr says he’s found skin cancer is inside a patient’s “gluteal cleft”—the butt crack. It turned out to be squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer that is generally not lethal, but is always caused by the sun. When he questioned the woman further he found that she favored tanning in the nude and had always been very careful to make sure her cheeks were evenly browned. Thankfully she was cured with a quick surgery but Dr. Stahr says the moral of this story is to skip tanning—and make sure you’re checking your cracks and crevices for growths.