Most people are applying their sunscreen wrong. You may think it is as simple as smearing it all over your exposed skin but you’d be part of the majority that are doing it incorrectly. Below are the 7 most common mistakes people make when applying sunscreen and how you can avoid them.
- Not Re-Applying
Most people fail to reapply their sun protection frequently enough, especially if they aren’t outside on a warm sunny day. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied liberally, frequently and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Throughout the day your sunscreen wears off, gets rubbed off and rinses off so to stay protected you need to reapply. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours when outside and immediately after swimming or sweating. When spending the day inside I recommend reapplying at least once a day or more frequently if you spend a lot of time near windows.
- Not Using Enough
When applying sun protection, especially natural physical blockers composed of zinc oxide, most people aren’t applying enough for optimal coverage. Most people only apply 25-50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen. The best way to be sure you’re applying enough sunscreen is:
- Spread a layer you can see over the areas of your skin that will be exposed to daylight.
- Massage this layer into the skin.
- If you’re planning a long day outside, apply another slightly thinner layer.
- Not Applying it at the Best Time
Unfortunately, most people fail to think ahead and wait to apply their sunscreen until they are already outside and in the sun. We often forget about sunscreen until we feel the warmth of the sun’s rays. While sunscreen doesn’t require time to “activate” on the skin, you should be applying it before going outside to allow the thin layer to adhere to the skin.
- Not Wearing it on Cloudy Days
The clouds only block 10-20% of the UVA rays that contribute to skin caging. It is important to apply sunscreen every day to prevent premature signs of aging, even if there are clouds in the sky and your chances of a burn are low.
- Believing in the “Base Tan” BS
A tan will not protect you from the cellular damage caused by exposure to the sun’s rays. A tan is just sun damage to begin with, and won’t protect you from burning and further damage. There is no such thing as a safe tan.
- Not Wearing Broad Spectrum
If you aren’t wearing a broad-spectrum SPF you aren’t getting complete protection from the damaging wavelengths of sunlight. The sun radiates both UVA and UVB rays; UVA rays lead to cellular aging and development of melanoma and UVB rays cause the sun to pigment and burn. Some sunscreens only cater to one or the other, so be sure to check the label and buy a “broad spectrum” sunscreen that covers both.
- Not Doing the “Slip, Slap, Slop”
In the 80’s there was an iconic campaign to get people to protect themselves from the sun that encouraged people to slip on a shirt, slap on a hat and slop on some sunscreen.Sunscreen is essential for sun protection, but even better with shade, a shirt and a hat when you’re not frolicking in the waves.
To learn more about my favourite sunblock of 2018 you can download my guide here.
Have a beautiful day!