Sun Protection with Sunscreen: Are You Applying it Right?

Bikini hat woman applying sunscreen lotion putting cream on tanned legsYou have probably heard about the benefits of protecting yourself from the sun, especially in preventing wrinkles and skin cancer. This is why you seek shade, wear protective clothing, and apply sunscreen to combat the harmful effects of UV rays. Unfortunately, sunscreen mistakes are widespread, leaving you exposed to the dangers of poor or improper usage.

Dermatology centers in Salem share the common mistakes with sunscreen application.

Applying after venturing out in the sun.

Wearing sunscreen after exposing yourself to the sun isn’t likely to give your skin enough protection. You need to apply the product at home, at least 30 minutes before stepping out into the sun. This is to give your skin enough time to absorb the sunscreen and give you the best protection.

Not wearing sunscreen in winter and cloudy days.

Protecting your skin from the sun damage should be a year-round habit. While the sun may feel weaker on winter and cloudy days, UVA rays are still present and can penetrate your skin and cause premature aging. And if you’re thinking of skiing or snowboarding, you should apply sunscreen to all exposed areas, as the snow reflects up to 80% of sun’s UV light, increasing your risk for damage.

Rushing with application.

This means that you are likely to miss important areas of the body. These include your ears, side of your face, and the front and back of your neck. You shouldn’t also forget to apply sunscreen on your scalp, especially on bald spots, as well as your feet. You might also want to protect your lips by wearing a lip balm with sun protection.

Using the wrong sunscreen.

It is important to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, which can block 97% of UVB rays. Those with high SPF numbers like 90 and 100 are not necessarily better. You can stick with SPF 30 (or a maximum of 50), and apply more frequently if you’re in the water.

Not reapplying frequently.

Using a waterproof sunscreen does not mean that you don’t have to reapply. It is best to reapply every two hours after your first application. This is especially true right after you have been swimming or exercising.

Get the best protection from your sunscreen by taking note of the things mentioned above. You should also try to stay out of the sun, especially in the midday, and drink plenty of water, regardless of the season. You can also consult a dermatologist for other sun protection and skin care tips.