Direct and prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays can increase one’s risk of sunburn, premature aging, wrinkles, fine lines, skin damage, or even cancer in extreme cases. When it comes to protecting one’s skin from sun rays, sunscreen is a crucial tool. However, many individuals make common sunscreen application mistakes that can do more harm than good. Here are some mistakes that should be avoided for optimal skin protection:
1. Not reapplying the product
Sunscreen’s efficacy diminishes over time and needs to be reapplied regularly, especially if one is spending time outdoors. Failing to reapply every two hours or after swimming, sweating, or towel-drying can lead to sunburn and long-term skin damage.
2. Not using enough sunscreen
Many people underestimate the amount of sunscreen needed to provide adequate protection. It’s recommended to coat the skin with at least an ounce of the product to shield the skin effectively, for instance, on a beach day. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying a nickel-sized portion to one’s face on regular days.
3. Neglecting sensitive areas
It’s easy to forget those often neglected areas, such as the ears, lips, and the back of the neck. To avoid harm, one should use sunscreen generously on all exposed skin.
4. Overlooking the neck and chest
The face isn’t the only area that requires protection. The neck and chest are often exposed and susceptible to sun damage. Extend your sunscreen application to cover these areas and maintain healthy, youthful skin.
5. Using expired sunscreen
Using expired sunscreen can be ineffective and even harmful. Check the expiration date on the sunscreen and discard any that have passed their prime. If there is no expiration date, replacing sunscreen every year is generally recommended.
6. Relying on makeup with SPF
While makeup products with SPF can offer some protection, they are not a substitute for dedicated sunscreen. Most people do not apply enough makeup to achieve the stated SPF level. Therefore, it is advised to use a separate sunscreen as the base layer before applying makeup for adequate protection.
7. Ignoring cloudy days
UV rays are present even on cloudy or overcast days. Neglecting sunscreen when the sun isn’t brightly shining is a common mistake. One should always use sunscreen, regardless of the weather conditions.
8. Relying solely on sunscreen
The effectiveness of sunscreen can diminish with time, sweating, or swimming. So, it’s important to complement sunscreen use by wearing shades, applying lip balms with SPF, and wearing sunglasses or wide-brimmed hats. This multi-pronged approach ensures comprehensive protection.