Taking a day off and heading to the beach might be a great way to unwind. But before grabbing your swimsuits and running towards the car, there’s one thing to do first – apply sunscreen. Although it may seem like a minor prerequisite to skincare, many people make common mistakes when applying sunscreen lotion. From not buying the correct SPF to using other products and sunscreen, here are some mistakes to avoid before stepping outdoors.
Waiting to apply sunscreen
Topical lotions are absorbed by the skin slowly. So, applying sunscreen at the beach or when traveling outdoors is pointless. Skin experts advise applying the lotion at least 20 to 30 minutes before leaving the house to allow the lotion to be absorbed properly and protect the skin. Also, the concentration of the lotion will determine its efficacy.
Not buying the proper SPF
Skin experts advise using a higher SPF sunscreen that lasts longer as well. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreens with SPF 30 or 50 at tropical locations. The harsh UV rays get reflected from the sea as well, thus increasing the intensity of radiation exposure. Additional minerals like zinc and titanium are added to sunscreens to make the protective layer more potent and effective against harsh UV rays.
Using other products with sunscreen
It’s crucial to protect our skin from the harmful effects of UV rays, and most sunscreens provide both moisturizing and SPF protection. However, using other topical lotions while applying sunscreen is not advisable. The sunscreen formula is delicately balanced to perform a specific job, and mixing it with other products can alter the balance, leading to unintended consequences like dryness and flaking.
Not applying a generous portion
Never be stingy with sunscreen. That doesn’t mean you should smear a thick paste over the skin that takes forever to dry. However, applying a good dab of the product is necessary so that the skin absorbs the nutrients and compounds that protect against UV rays for the recommended duration. Again, the SPF concentration of the product is also an essential factor to consider.
Not covering up important areas
While applying sunscreen to your face, it is important to spread it evenly across areas many people miss. For example, the lips are commonly ignored. But these areas are also prone to more damage as there is a lower concentration of melanin in these areas, which gives the skin its color. The risk is even higher for the eyelids as most people avoid applying sunscreen near and around the eyes. These are common application mistakes that can do more harm.
Not reapplying a layer
If you plan to spend an entire day at the beach, it is necessary to reapply sunscreen occasionally. Repeated exposure, swimming, or lying on the beach towel can cause the layer of sunscreen applied to erode unevenly. If you don’t notice these patches, the resulting tan can be uneven and look bad. Check for spots, and keep topping up these patches with a generous dab.
Applying in sunny weather only
Most people only apply sunscreen when the sun is shining bright, and they avoid using it when the weather is cloudy or overcast. However, it is a common misconception that clouds can prevent UV rays from reaching our skin. Exposure to harmful rays is still significant enough to cause skin damage and increase cancer risk. Therefore, it is essential to apply sunscreen regardless of the weather conditions.