You probably know that wearing sunscreen is essential to preventing sun damage. The sad part is that not all of us (know how to) use it correctly. Faulty or infrequent application not only makes the product ineffective, but also leaves your skin at risk of premature aging (wrinkles, creases, sagging skin) and skin cancers.
No sunscreen can block 100% of ultraviolet (UV) rays, but the right product and usage can minimize your chances of sunburn, early skin aging, and related damage. There is also the benefit of reducing your dependence of anti-aging or skin repairing products and treatments.
Here are a few things that can help you choose and use sunscreen the right way:
Choose the right sunscreen
When selecting a sunscreen, it is best to look for the following:
- SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher
- Protection from UVA and UVB rays (broad-spectrum sunscreen)
- Hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic formula if you’re prone to acne or rosacea
Do take note that the protection ability of the sunscreen does not actually uniformly increase with the indicated SPF number. SPF 15 absorbs 93% of the sun’s rays, while an SPF 30 absorbs 97%. SPF 50, meanwhile, absorbs just slightly more, 98%.
Our recommendations include:
- Clear Defense SPF 45 with Broad Spectrum –This lightweight formula helps prevent UVA/UVB and infrared damage to skin. It can also improve the look of wrinkles, reduce redness, and increase skin firmness and elasticity.
- Sheer Defense Tinted SPF 46 with Broad Spectrum – This antioxidant rich formula is oil free, lightweight, and contains soothing ingredients. It nourishes the skin and reduces redness and blotchiness. It is also tinted with a universal tint that is designed to match most skin types.
Don’t skimp on using the product. If you want your sunscreen to be effective, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests using an ounce (shot glass full) of it to cover the body fully. Make sure not to forget your ears, the back of the neck, and the tops of your hands and feet.
When applying on the face, gently dot the sunscreen on the area. This allows the product to be absorbed more evenly and quickly, instead of squeezing the sunscreen in your hands and applying it afterwards.
Wear sunscreen daily and before going outside
The damaging UV rays can penetrate through clouds and glass, so you need to wear sunscreen daily, even when it’s cloudy. This also applies if you’re exercising in a place with windows that let the light in.
You should also know that most sun exposure is casual or incidental. This means that you can get it without realizing, like when walking to and from your vehicle, getting lunch, walking your dog, or sitting near an office window.
Also, your skin can take some time to absorb the sunscreen. So, be sure to apply early or 30 minutes before going out in the sun.
Reapply every two hours
As sunscreens don’t provide all-day protection, they need to be reapplied frequently, at least every two hours. The same is also true even if you use water or perspiration resistant formulas. This is because their protection against water and sweat does not last indefinitely.
Reapplication is especially important in the following conditions:
- When participating in outdoor activities
- When staying outdoors for a prolonged period
- After bathing or swimming
- After sweating heavily or drying off with a towel
Take other measures to protect your skin
Wearing sunscreen SPF is important, but you should not rely on it alone. You can give yourself additional sun protection by:
- Using umbrella or seeking shade
- Dressing right (dark or tightly woven long-sleeved shirts and pants)
- Avoiding or limiting exposure when UV rays are the strongest (between 10am and 4pm)
- Wearing a brimmed hat or sunglasses with UV protection
- Using a lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher
- Avoiding tanning beds
Don’t let a faulty application make your sunscreen useless or ineffective. To learn more about our sunscreen recommendations and other sun protection tips, explore our website or contact us today.