Protecting your skin from UVA and UVB radiation can help it look young for longer, while also reducing the risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen can help out, as long as you’re actually choosing the right one and using it the right way.
Start making sure that you’re applying sunscreen correctly and you’re avoiding some of the most common sunscreen mistakes. You won’t just protect your skin from premature aging, you’ll also reduce the risk of dangerous skin conditions.
1. You’re Not Using Enough
Even if you make sure to choose a high SPF, you might still be using too little sunscreen. While your face needs a nickel amount for adequate protection, your entire body should be covered in a shot glass’ worth of sunscreen. Using less might doesn’t always result in burning or other visible issues, but your skin is less protected in the long run.
2. You Apply It Outside
One of the biggest sunscreen mistakes is thinking that you don’t need to apply it in advance. Most dermatologists recommend that you use it 20-30 minutes before you’re actually exposed directly to the sun. That way, it will have enough time to get absorbed in your skin and actually start protecting you from UVA and UVB radiation.
3. You Don’t Reapply Often Enough
Skimping on the sunscreen reapplication can leave your skin unprotected. Even if you use a water resistant sun screen, you’ll still need to apply again in 2 hours if you’re still outside. Swimming and excessive sweating can make it less effective even sooner, so make sure that you reapply after taking a swim or if you’re going to continue your workout.
4. You Forget About It When the Weather Is Bad
Just because you’re dealing with a rainy day doesn’t mean you can forget about protecting your skin. One of the big sunscreen mistakes is thinking that you’re safe without it when the skies are cloudy. The truth is that the rate of UV exposure is only about 80% as opposed to a clear day with a scorching sun.
5. You’re Not Applying Sunscreen Spray Correctly
If you prefer sunscreen sprays, the risk of applying it incorrectly or insufficiently is even greater. A lot of people use sunscreen spray, but make the mistake of not rubbing it in the skin. Spray continuously on your skin for a few seconds, then make sure you rub it in the skin, as if you were blending makeup. Skip this step and you won’t be fully protected against sun damage.
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6. You Think Clothes Protect Covered Skin
Applying sunscreen when you’re already wearing something, even a bikini, won’t really offer you the most protection. One of the big sunscreen mistakes is getting dressed first, then using it only on your exposed skin. Clothing won’t provide enough SPF, and UV radiation can also get to you when you’re in the shade, so make sure you’re covering yourself well with your lotion or spray.
7. You Don’t Protect Yourself Indoors
Whether you’re in your car or indoors, standing next to windows, UVA and UVB rays can have the same effect on your skin as if you’re outside in the sun. Start your day with sunscreen application or use a moisturizer with the right SPF to make sure that you’re protected even when you’re driving or just relaxing in your own home.
8. You Forget About Certain Body Parts
One of the big sunscreen mistakes is applying it in a hurry without thinking about every area that needs protection. Those include your eyelids, ears and even scalp. A sunscreen stick can be the best solution for ears and eyelids, and you can use a quick drying spray for your scalp, particularly if you’re planning on spending a lot of time outdoors without any coverage.
9. You’re Using Old Sunscreen
Most sunscreen are usually effective a year after opening. Even if the packaging has a different expiration date, you should know that sunscreen becomes less and less effective over time, particularly when stored in a warm place.
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10. You Use a Single Type of Sunscreen
Applying a sunscreen formula designed for your body is one of the biggest sunscreen mistakes you can make. If you don’t use one specifically created for your face, you risk irritation on the sensitive areas of your face and even breakouts.