If you thought just buying sunscreen and putting it on every time you go to the beach would keep you from getting sun damage, think again. There’s actually more to sunscreen application than meets the eye!
To get it right, know what you’re doing wrong. Here are seven of the most common mistakes to avoid when using sunscreen:
Mistake #1: You’re not reapplying throughout the day.
If you have a big beach day planned, you’ll likely remember that wearing sunscreen is essential.
This is great, but did you know that applying once just a few hours before you leave for the beach simply won’t cut it? First, you should be applying sunscreen before you leave your house, but you also need to heed the reapplication warnings on the bottle. Most directions say to reapply every two to four hours and to definitely reapply after going swimming or if it’s especially hot out and you’re sweating profusely.
Mistake #2: You assume you don’t need sunscreen indoors.
An easy mistake to make! Why wouldn’t you assume that sunscreen only makes sense outdoors?
Well, as it turns out, “incidental exposure” is highly common inside your house, especially when you’re near sunny windows. In fact, exposure can even happen while you’re driving. Sure, you may not get the harmful UVB rays, so sunburn won’t be a problem (windows and windshields can block UVB rays). But you very well may be absorbing UVA rays, and these are the ones that can lead to accelerated aging of the skin and skin cancer.
For this reason, try to wear sunscreen every day or as much as possible. One easy way to do this? Use a moisturizer and body lotion with an SPF every day.
Mistake #3: You only apply it when the sun’s out in summer.
To be sure, the summer is when sunscreen sales skyrocket. And why shouldn’t they? That’s when everyone’s laying out at the pool or the beach isn’t it?
But hot days in the summer shouldn’t be the only times that you’re applying sunscreen. The harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun can penetrate your skin at any time during the year, and they can even be harmful on cloudy or overcast days — especially as exposure builds up over time. Be sure to apply your sunscreen or a lotion with sunscreen every day, no matter the season or weather.
Mistake #4: You’re only using sunscreen in spray form.
There are definitely a lot of things to like about spray sunscreen — mostly its convenience — but this form of protection may carry potential health risk. Namely, health experts are worried about people inhaling the spray. If you are bound and determined to use this form of sunscreen, however, experts recommend that you first spray it into your hands and then rub it in.
By the way, did you know that there are also natural alternatives to mass-produced sunscreen sprays and lotions? For example, this DIY all-natural sunscreen made with rice flour can be easily made in your own kitchen!
Mistake #5: You’re missing some key spots.
Most people can remember to apply sunscreen to their legs, arms, chest, and face. But if these are the only places that you focus on, you’ll be missing some other key body parts. Make sure that you’re getting smaller areas like your ears and your lips. Likewise, don’t forget about your scalp if it is exposed with a short haircut, non-hair-covered areas (as with those who are bald or balding), or a large part in the center of your head.
Mistake #6: You’re using an outdated product.
Two years tend to be the limit when it comes to sunscreen. Most bottles have their own expiration date, but if you can’t find a date, go with a two year maximum on your sunscreens. Anything older than that won’t be as effective at protecting your skin.
Mistake #7: Your SPF isn’t high enough.
Finally, remember to be acutely aware of the SPF of your sunscreen. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, you technically can use SPFs as low as 15, but the higher, the better in most cases. Ideally, you would be using an SPF of at least 30 on most days.
So have you been applying sunscreen correctly? If not, heed these warnings! They’ll not only help you avoid skin cancer, but they’ll keep pesky lines, wrinkles, and sun spots at bay as well.
Remember that skin cancer rates are on the rise and absolutely anyone can get it, regardless of age, gender or race. Sunscreen is not a whim — it saves lives!
Share this post with your friends and family and remind them to be on the safe side!