Sunscreen is a must for protecting the skin against the harmful UV rays. It helps prevent sunburn and premature aging, as well as lower your risk of skin cancer. There is also the benefit of preventing both the appearance of hyperpigmentation and the worsening of existing dark spots.
Simply or mindlessly applying sunscreen to the skin, however, doesn’t always cut it. This is especially true if you use too little, use a low SPF, or neglect other areas. If you want to get the most out of your sunscreen, you need to apply it the right way, as well as supplement it with other sun protection measures.
Read on and learn the 9 things you can do to up your sunscreen and sun protection game.
1. Choose the right formula
To get enough protection, make sure to look for a sunscreen that:
- Has SPF 30 or higher
- Is broad-spectrum (meaning it offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays)
- Is water-resistant
- Is hypoallergenic, talc-free, and fragrance-free, particularly if you have sensitive skin
At Cutis, we have two fast-absorbing and broad-spectrum sunscreens from the Dr. Sylvia Skin Care Line. Both provide UVA/UVB and infrared protection.
- Clear Defense SPF 45 with Broad-Spectrum – contains a blend of actives that provide protection against UV radiation and premature aging. It also has niacinamide to help reduce redness, blotchiness, and hyperpigmentation, as well as promote a smoother, clearer complexion.
- Sheer Defense Tinted SPF 46 with Broad-Spectrum – is an oil-free and antioxidant-rich sunscreen with a universal tint that matches most skin types. It has skin-soothing properties and has niacinamide that helps reduce redness and blotchiness.
2. Apply liberally (generous amount)
A broad-spectrum sunscreen cannot give enough protection if you skimp on it. It is important to apply a liberal amount, about ¼ teaspoon for your face and another ¼ teaspoon for the neck and chest area. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests using an ounce or a shot glass full of sunscreen to cover the entire body.
3. Wear sunscreen every day
Make sure to apply sunscreen daily, regardless of the weather. The ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can still damage your skin even when it is cloudy. UVA rays, the ones responsible for premature aging and certain types of cancer, can also penetrate windows in your office or inside your car.
4. Apply earlier and reapply often
As the skin can take some time to absorb the sunscreen, apply the product 20 minutes before sun exposure. This helps create the intended protective barrier. You should also reapply at least every two hours, even if you are using water- or sweat-resistant formulas. This is especially true:
- If you stay outdoors for a prolonged period
- If you participate in outdoor sports and activities
- After swimming or bathing
- After sweating heavily or drying with a towel
5. Use sunscreen lotions/creams, instead of sprays
While sunscreen spray is easier and more convenient to apply than lotion, some of it ends up in the air instead of on your skin. There is also the issue of spraying only for a few seconds, which could mean that you are not applying enough sunscreen.
Lotions are said to offer more protection, as they are less likely to be blown away by the wind and you can tell much of the product you are putting on your skin. Sunscreen lotions, furthermore, are likely to stay on your skin longer than spray products, which means better sun protection.
6. Make sure your sunscreen is not expired
See the expiration date stamped or printed on the label of your sunscreen bottle. If you can’t see yours, it has probably been erased and rubbed off over time. In this case, it is good to know that most sunscreens have a shelf life of about three years. It can also depend on the way you use and store the product.
You can tell if your sunscreen has gone bad by noting these three things: color, smell, and texture/consistency. If you notice a brownish or yellowish color in the product, it is best to buy a new one. The same is also true if it has a weird odor or if it has become more watery or oily.
For further reading: 3 Ways to Tell If Your Sunscreen Has Gone Bad
7. Don’t forget commonly neglected areas
Your face and other commonly exposed areas aren’t the only ones that need sun protection. It is important to be diligent when applying SPF and not neglect certain areas of the body, as it can increase your risk of sun damage. Below are the often-overlooked spots for sun protection.
- Neck and chest
- Eyelids (use a sunscreen that is safe to use on the eye area)
- Tops of your hands and feet
8. Makeup with SPF is not enough
SPF-infused powders, foundations, and concealers are often marketed to help protect the skin against UV rays. While SPF in makeup does work, they are not a substitute for regular (broad-spectrum) sunscreen. It is still advisable to put on sunscreen first before applying your makeup.
Another thing you should know about SPF in makeup is that it is unlikely to give you enough sun protection. As you need to apply sunscreen liberally and reapply every two hours, you would need lots of makeup (heavy application) to get enough protection that a typical sunscreen would offer.
For further reading: Makeup with SPF: Does it Provide Enough Sun Protection?
9. Practice other sun protection measures
While it is important to use regular sunscreen daily, it is also ideal to do other things that can offer you extra protection. Here are a few other sun protection measures:
- Use a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher.
- Accessorize with a wide-brimmed hat or wraparound sunglasses with UV protection.
- Use an umbrella or seek shade when outside.
- Wear tightly woven clothing (pants or long-sleeved shirts)
- Limit sun exposure during the sun’s peak hours (between 10 am and 4 pm)
Browse through our website or get in touch with us for more sun care tips or to learn more about our products and treatments. Contact Cutis Medical Laser Clinics in Singapore at +65-6801-4000 to schedule a consultation with one of our aesthetic doctors.