Most people know the importance of using sunscreen to protect their skin from sun damage. However, even if you wear sunscreen religiously, there are a number of mistakes you could be making. Here are some of the most common.
1) Not Using a Broad-Spectrum Formula
You may check the SPF number when buying a sunscreen, but do you know that you should be looking for a broad spectrum formula to give your skin the necessary protection? Many sun creams only offer protection against UVB rays, but it’s important to shield your skin from UVA rays too, which can cause just as much damage. Look for sun creams that are labelled as broad spectrum formulas to keep your skin truly defended.
2) Choosing an SPF Which is Too Low
While the desire for a tan might prompt you to pick up a tanning oil with SPF 5, this will only put your skin at risk. During the summer months, you should be using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, but ideally higher. Just remember that sun creams with high SPFs need to be reapplied just as often as ones with lower protection.
3) Applying Sunscreen Once You’re Outside
It’s best not to wait until you’re lying in the garden or on the beach to slather on the sunscreen. If you apply it after going outside, you’re immediately spending a certain amount of time exposing your unprotected skin to harmful UV rays. It may be a short amount of time, but damage can still be done. Experts recommend applying your sunscreen about 30 minutes before going outside, to give it a chance to absorb into the skin and start working by the time you step outdoors.
4) Applying Sunscreen Around Your Clothes
When you smear on sunscreen around your clothes, you’ll inevitably miss a few spots while trying to avoid getting the product all over your outfit. It’s best to put on your sunscreen before you get dressed so you can apply it liberally and cover up all of your skin.
5) Not Using Enough
Popular spray-on sunscreen formulas can make it difficult to tell whether you’ve given your body the coverage it needs. Experts suggest that when using sprays, you should hold the can six inches from the skin and spray continuously until you can see the product covering the entire area, then rub it in. Repeat this all over your body.
6) Missing Key Spots
There are certain parts of the body that are commonly left uncovered simply because people don’t think to put sunscreen on them. Feet, toes, underarms, the back of the neck, ears and eyelids are among the areas most often forgotten. They need just as much protection as the rest of your body, so make sure you’re putting your sun cream everywhere.
7) Not Reapplying Often Enough
Too many people believe that putting on sunscreen first thing in the morning will cover them for the day, but doing so certainly won’t offer you a full day of immunity to the sun. You should be reapplying your sun cream every 80 minutes, regardless of whether it’s water-resistant or how high the SPF is.
8) Using Your Body Sunscreen on Your Face
Facial skin is generally more sensitive than the skin on the rest of your body, so you shouldn’t be using body sunscreen on it. Formulas made for the body are often full of ingredients that can irritate the facial skin and clog your pores, so make sure you pick up a separate one for your face.
9) Not Protecting Your Lips
Your lips are just as sensitive to the sun as the rest of your skin, but people often forget that they need protection too, although not from the same products you use on the rest of your body. Use a lip balm with SPF. Make sure you reapply it more frequently than you reapply the sunscreen on your body, as talking, eating and drinking will ensure it wears away quite quickly.
10) Only Wearing Sunscreen on Hot, Sunny Days
The sun doesn’t only cause damage on hot, summer days – it can still be harmful when the weather is dull or drizzly. UV rays can easily penetrate clouds and get to your skin, so remember to put on sunscreen even when the sun isn’t shining.
Knowing what mistakes to avoid will allow you to make sure you’re truly protecting yourself from harmful UV rays. Using sunscreen correctly is very important, as it will protect your skin from sun damage and premature ageing, as well reducing your risk of skin cancer.
Finally, don’t let these things put you off going out and enjoying the sun. It really does offer a whole host of benefits for our overall health and wellbeing.