5 Sunscreen Mistakes to Avoid

 

It’s official. Sunscreen is one of our best defences against skin aging. Researchers have found that it not only protects you from sunburns and skin cancer, it also guards against photoaging: the wrinkling, spotting and loss of elasticity caused by exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.1

However, there is a catch. Sunscreen has to be used correctly in order to give its maximum benefit. Here are some common mistakes, and how to avoid them.

 

Mistake 1: Relying on SPF-containing makeup for sun protection

Many foundations and other makeup products offer a built-in sun protection factor (SPF), but there is no way you are wearing enough of it to get sufficient protection. You will need at least seven times the normal amount of foundation and 14 times the normal amount of powder to get the SPF on the label.

There is just no substitute for a real deal sunscreen. Choose a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and broad spectrum coverage, which protects against UVA and UVB rays. Some of our recommended choices include Obagi Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50 or PCA Skin Weightless Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 45.

 

Mistake 2: Not applying sunscreen on all exposed skin

We usually apply sunscreen on the face, but neglect other areas. Remember to apply on your neck, ears, back of hands, tops of your feet and legs. For hard‐to‐reach areas like your back, ask someone to help you or use a spray-on sunscreen. If you have thinning hair, either apply sunscreen to your scalp or wear a wide‐brimmed hat. To protect your lips, apply a lip balm with an SPF of at least 15.

 

Mistake 3: Just dabbing on a bit of sunscreen

Use sunscreen on your face (and body) liberally! Unless you layer on enough sunscreen, you are probably just getting an SPF 10 out of your SPF 30.

 

Mistake 4: Not reapplying frequently  

The active ingredients in sunscreen get “used up” over time, lasting at most 2 hours. To remain protected from sun damage when outdoors, reapply every two hours, or immediately after swimming or sweating.

 

Mistake 5: Not applying sunscreen as part of your daily routine

Sunscreen should be worn daily, regardless of whether you are going to the beach or heading to work. Even if you are just spending a day at the office, indoor UV exposure can occur as UVA penetrates through glass (e.g. windows).

Wear sunscreen correctly and daily as part of your routine and guard yourself against signs of premature aging!

 

Reference: 1. Hughes M, Ann Intern Med. 2013;158(11):781-790.