The Top Sunscreen Mistakes to Avoid
Even when it’s not summertime, wearing sunscreen is one of the best things you can do for your skin. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, using a quality sunscreen with good UVA and UVB protection can minimize the signs of aging on your skin, keep you from getting burned, and reduce your skin cancer risk.
Skin cancer is on the rise. In fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation reported that more than 5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year. When choosing a sunscreen, get one that is water-resistant and broad-spectrum, with an SPF of 30 or more. Mineral sunscreens, also known as physical sunscreens, are your best bet as they tend to be less irritating, do a good job of shielding your skin, and are more moisturizing.
Physicians Premier, your Corpus Christi ER, shares the top sunscreen mistakes to avoid.
1. You only apply sunscreen when you’re going out
Did you know that the sun’s harmful rays can still reach your skin indoors, especially when you are near a window? Get into the habit of using sunscreen 365 days a year. Apply it daily, most especially after you shower for better absorption.
2. You apply too little sunscreen
Don’t be stingy when it comes to sunscreen. A little dab won’t do. If you do this, you’ll only be getting a lower SPF. If you’re at the beach, use at least 1 ounce of sunscreen on your body, and save some (a nickel-sized amount) for your face. Also, be sure to apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before you head out to give your skin some time to absorb all the protective goodness the sunscreen provides.
3. You do not reapply
Remember, your sunscreen is not a magic concoction that protects you throughout the day. A rule of thumb would be to reapply at least every two hours. Reapply more often if you are going swimming or will participate in active sports.
4. You don’t check the expiration date
Are you guilty of using the same bottle year after year? If so, it’s possible that you are putting your skin at risk. Once expired, your sunscreen might not provide the same degree of protection stated on the bottle. Before applying, be sure to check the expiration date, and if there’s none, remember that the FDA requires sunscreen to last 3 years. Check the purchase date on the bottle and assume that it expires 3 years after that date.
5. You don’t apply sunscreen on a cloudy day
This is probably the biggest mistake most people make. Cloudy skies may give you a false sense of security, but consider yourself warned. In fact, about 80 percent of the sun’s harmful rays can reach your skin. So, don’t forget to apply your sunscreen the next time you’re out!
To protect your skin this season, keep in mind these top sunscreen mistakes to avoid. Remember too, that skin protection requires more than sunscreen application. Consider wearing wide-brimmed hats and sun-protective clothing whenever you’re outside.
“Tips to Stay Safe in the Sun: From Sunscreen to Sunglasses,” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/tips-stay-safe-sun-sunscreen-sunglasses
“Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics,” Skin Cancer Foundation, https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts/#nonmelanoma
“The difference between physical and chemical sunscreen,” Piedmont Healthcare, https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/the-difference-between-physical-and-chemical-sunscreen
“A Guide to the UV Index,” United States Environmental Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/uviguide.pdf