Wearing sunscreen is one of the healthiest things you can do for your summer. A good sunscreen with effective UVA and UVB protection can protect you from sunburn, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging, and lower your risk of skin cancer.
Choose a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Be sure to use a mineral sunscreen with zinc and titanium for daily use. Mineral sunscreens, also known as physical sunscreens, protect the skin from the sun’s rays and are typically less irritating and more moisturizing than chemical sunscreens, which absorb the rays and turn them into heat in the body.
But your work doesn’t end when you choose the perfect sun protection. Too many people manage to mess up the application process by underapplying, skipping vulnerable areas, etc. The most serious consequence of not using sunscreen is the development of skin cancer, but that’s not the only reason to apply it. Sunburn damages skin cells and blood vessels and can cause skin to appear older, wrinkled, drier, discolored and hard.
The aging effect of the sun’s rays is a major reason to apply sunscreen conscientiously. Several large studies show that regular use of sunscreen can reduce photoaging over time: redness, dark spots and wrinkles. Take for example a study published in the journal Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology in 2013. Researchers found that UV exposure is responsible for about 80% of the visible signs of facial aging.
The biggest sunscreen blunders we make and how to avoid them
1. You wait until you’re already at the beach to put on sunscreen
If you’re ankle-deep in the sand when you put on sunscreen, you’ll come home like a lobster. Apply the sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going out because that is how long it takes for your skin to absorb the protective ingredients. Apply it as evenly as possible before getting dressed to avoid missing areas like ankles and feet.
2. You’re too stingy when you put on your sunscreen
To get the protection advertised on the sunscreen, a little slap will not be enough. Most people underapply, resulting in underprotection. On beach days, cover your entire body with at least 1 full jar of sunscreen.
3. You skip important areas
It is important to apply sunscreen to all areas that will be exposed to the sun. Although there are a few places that people miss. A study published in April 2019 in the journal PLoS One found that nearly 20% of participants do not apply sunscreen to their eyelids. The study participants had no idea that they had missed this point. This is of concern since the skin of the eyelid has the highest incidence of skin cancer per unit area.
The lips are another often-overlooked area that’s prone to damage because they don’t contain much melanin. A protective pigment that adds color to skin, hair and eyes. The more hydrated your lips are, the easier and deeper UV rays penetrate into unprotected skin. Shiny, dewy lips attract harmful UV rays, so watch out for shine. It’s like putting baby oil on your skin.
4. You don’t bother to reapply your sunscreen
Sunscreen is not a magic potion that will protect you forever. The rule of thumb is: change the sunscreen at least every two hours, and more often if you sweat heavily or swim.
Even sunscreens labeled “waterproof” are only required to maintain their SPF for up to 80 minutes (the label on waterproof sunscreens indicates whether they stay effective for 40 minutes or 80 minutes in water). A new application also helps you achieve a more even distribution.
5. You don’t wear enough sunscreen
If you don’t apply sunscreen evenly, you won’t get the protection promised on the label. Take extra care when applying and go over exposed areas several times to maximize coverage. Aerosol sunscreens that don’t require rubbing can alleviate this problem. You just have to be thorough in the application. Sprays are handy, but it can be hard to tell if you’ve covered all of the exposed areas. To be on the safe side, spray until you get a shine all over your body.
6. You don’t wear sunscreen when the weather is cloudy
Even when the sun is not visible, 80% of its UV rays still hit your skin. It is therefore important to wear sunscreen on every trip, regardless of the cloudiness. To remind yourself in summer, place your sunscreen right next to your toothpaste to remind you to put it on every day.
7. You don’t know the expiration date
Have you used the same bottle of sunscreen year after year? You risk damaging your skin. The protective effect of sunscreen lasts up to three years. After that, it may no longer provide the level of protection stated on the bottle. Check the expiration date before using it and if you don’t see one, assume it will expire three years from the date of purchase. Write the purchase date on the bottle to keep track.
* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.
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Sunscreen How to apply sunscreen correctly Skin Protect your skin in summer