Sunscreen mistakes you may be making
It’s a hot, sunny day. Like, 90 degrees hot. You’re sitting at home with the blinds drawn. You’ve spent a fair amount of time outside this summer so you may decide to head out without sunscreen. But doing so would be a mistake.
When it comes to sunscreen, experts say the number one thing people do wrong is not wearing any at all.
However, it’s easy to avoid sunscreen mistakes. Experts share the following steps you can take to ensure that sunscreen is applied, used and stored correctly:
- If you’re grabbing a sunscreen from a bathroom cabinet, check the date on the bottle. Sunscreen does expire. “Store the sunscreen in a cool place. When bringing the sunscreen outside, be sure to put it in the shade,” says Dr. Catherine Dudley, a dermatologist at Advocate Medical Group in Aurora and Plainfield, Ill.
- When applying sunscreen, it’s easy to lather up the parts of the body you can see, like the arms, stomach and legs, but there are some parts of the body that may get overlooked. “Remember to put sunscreen on the tops of the ears and the back of the neck. It’s also important to use lip sunscreen,” Dr. Dudley says.
- The best SPF to use is SPF 30 or higher. Dr. Dudley says SPF 15 is a high enough number to provide adequate protection, but most people do not apply it a thick enough layer for it to work. Any SPF below 15 provides more limited protection.
- Use a different form of sunscreen to target sweaty areas. If you find that sunscreen drips from your forehead into your eyes when sweating, Dr. Dudley suggests using a lip sunscreen stick on the forehead instead of the cream sunscreen.
- Sunscreen sprays, creams and gels are equally effective. You can apply any of those to your hands and then spread the sunscreen around on your skin, Dr. Dudley says. She says powder sunscreen does work, but it takes a thick layer to do the job. Therefore, it is better used as a touch up if you are outside for a long time.
“Sunscreen is important to prevent many skin cancers and premature aging of the skin,” Dr. Dudley says.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.