Are you making these sunscreen mistakes?

Are you making these sunscreen mistakes?

Who doesn’t love spending time outdoors in lovely, sunny weather? Whether this means going to the beach, pool or just sitting out on the lawn, it’s crucial you remember to apply sunscreen. But are you using it properly?

Here are the most common mistakes to avoid when it comes to this summer essential:

  1. You forget to put it on in the morning.

Before you leave your house for the day, you should get into the habit of applying sunscreen. Consider putting it on before you even get dressed. Being directly in the sun without protection can cause serious damage to the skin. By putting it on immediately before getting dressed, you are ensuring that you’ll be protected from the very beginning.

  1. You don’t reapply it throughout the day.

“Sunscreen should be reapplied every few hours, depending on the activity,” says Dr. Sarah Kasprowicz, a dermatologist affiliated with Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.

Don’t forget your to apply on your face, because lips, head, ears and neck are often areas that we neglect in application, Dr. Kasprowicz says.

  1. The SPF isn’t strong enough.

“SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is a relative measure of how long a sunscreen will protect you for from UVB rays, which are thought to damage the skin’s outer layers,” says Dr. Kasprowicz. “For example, if it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start burning, using an SPF of 15 theoretically prevents burning 15 times longer (about five hours). It is important keep in mind that this calculation does not account for UVA rays, which typically reach the skin’s deeper levels.”

  1. You think the shade will protect you.

Perhaps the most popular misconception about sunscreen is that the shade will protect you. However, the sun can reflect off of almost any surface directly onto your skin without you even noticing.  In addition to sunscreen, Dr. Kasprowicz says sun-protective clothing is always a good bet to best protect you from the sun’s harmful rays.

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About the Author

Rina Jacobs
Rina Jacobs

Rina Jacobs, health enews contributor, is an intern in public affairs and marketing at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. She is currently a student at Yeshiva University in New York City and is working towards a degree in Media Studies and Advertising. During her free time, you can catch Rina going to spin class, binge watching a Netflix series or sitting outside with an iced coffee.