Sunscreen is essential to any skincare routine, especially when spending time outdoors. Not only does it protect the skin from harmful UV rays, but it also helps prevent skin cancer and premature aging. Unfortunately, however, many people may not be applying sunscreen correctly, which can lead to decreased effectiveness. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the proper way to apply sunscreen to ensure maximum protection.
How To Use Sunscreen Properly
First, it’s essential to understand the difference between sunscreen and sunblock. Sunscreen is a lotion or cream that contains chemicals that absorb UV rays, while sunblock is a physical barrier that reflects UV rays. Both types of sunscreen should be applied to all exposed skin, but sunblock should be used more thickly.
When applying sunscreen, it’s essential to use it enough. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, adults should use at least one ounce (or a shot glass full) of sunscreen to cover their entire bodies. This may seem like a lot, but it’s necessary to ensure that all exposed skin is protected.
It’s also essential to apply sunscreen for at least 15 minutes before going out in the sun, giving the sunscreen time to dry and set. This is especially important if you’re planning to be in the water, as water can wash off sunscreen.
When applying sunscreen to your face, use a sunscreen specifically formulated for the face. This will help prevent acne and other skin irritations. It’s also essential to apply sunscreen to the ears, the back of the neck, and the tops of the feet, as these areas are often overlooked but are still exposed to the sun.
Another critical factor to consider is reapplication. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating. Many sunscreens will have a water-resistant rating, meaning they will remain effective for a certain amount of time while swimming or sweating. However, even water-resistant sunscreens will need to be reapplied after a particular time in the water.
It’s also important to note that no sunscreen can block 100% of UV rays, so it’s also essential to use other sun protection methods. This includes wearing protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats, as well as seeking shade during the peak sun hours (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.).
In conclusion, sunscreen is essential to ensure maximum protection from harmful UV rays. Be sure to use enough sunscreen, apply it at least 15 minutes before going out in the sun, reapply every two hours, and use other sun protection methods. Remember, sunscreen alone is not enough; it’s important to seek shade and wear protective clothing to decrease your chance of sun damage. Always check the expiration date and consult the dermatologist if you have any doubts.
In addition to what was mentioned earlier, choosing the right sunscreen for your skin type is also essential. People with sensitive skin should look for sunscreens labeled “sensitive skin” or “hypoallergenic,” as these are less likely to irritate. People with oily or acne-prone skin should look for sunscreens labeled “non-comedogenic” or “oil-free,” as these are less likely to clog pores and cause breakouts.
Another critical factor is the sunscreen’s SPF (sun protection factor) rating. The SPF rating indicates how much UVB protection a sunscreen provides. For example, an SPF 30 sunscreen filters out about 97% of UVB rays, while an SPF 50 sunscreen filters out about 98% of UVB rays. It’s important to note that a higher SPF rating does not necessarily mean better protection. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
In addition to UVB protection, it’s also essential to look for a sunscreen that provides UVA protection. UVA rays can penetrate deeper into the skin than UVB rays and can cause premature aging, wrinkles, and skin cancer. Look for sunscreens labeled “broad-spectrum,” as these protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
It’s also important to consider the type of activities you’ll engage in when choosing a sunscreen. For example, if you are swimming or sweating, look for a sunscreen labeled “water-resistant” or “sweat-resistant.” These sunscreens are formulated to stay on the skin longer and are less likely to wash off or sweat off.
Another thing to consider is the expiration date of sunscreen. The effectiveness of sunscreen may decrease over time. Therefore, sunscreens should be stored in a cool, dry place and used within three years of their purchase date.
Treat Your Skin Better
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that while sunscreen is an integral part of sun protection, it’s not the only thing you need to do to protect yourself from the sun. It’s important to seek shade and wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and wide-brimmed hats, as well as to avoid sun exposure during the peak sun hours (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.).
Be sure to choose a sunscreen that is appropriate for your skin type, has an SPF of at least 30, provides UVA and UVB protection, is labeled “water-resistant” or “sweat-resistant” if you’ll be swimming or sweating, and is used within three years of its purchase date. Use enough sunscreen, apply it for at least 15 minutes before going out in the sun, reapply every two hours, and use other sun protection methods. Always consult a dermatologist if you have any doubts or concerns.