8 Common Sunscreen Mistakes - Step To Health

8 Common Sunscreen Mistakes

Making mistakes when using sunscreen reduces its effectiveness and puts your skin's health at risk. What should you be aware of? Here we detail it.
8 Common Sunscreen Mistakes

Last update: 08 November, 2021

Some people make some mistakes when using sunscreen. This product has become one of the essential cosmetics for everyone. Its daily use is crucial in order to prevent damage caused by ultraviolet radiation, such as spots, premature aging, and skin cancer. So, how to use it correctly?

First of all, we must understand that its application isn’t exclusive to summer or hot days. Even though it’s necessary to reinforce its use during the summer, it’s also important to use it on cloudy or winter days. Let’s take a closer look at other mistakes to avoid.

8 common mistakes when applying sunscreen

As stated in a review published in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, the use of sunscreen is the most widely used method to mitigate the action of ultraviolet radiation. However, in order for it to work well, certain mistakes must be avoided when using it. Here we’ll summarize them for you.

1. Applying the wrong SPF

The acronym SPF stands for sun protection factor. In particular, this is the time a person can be exposed to the sun without getting sunburnt.

The number indicates the power of the product to protect the skin from the sun’s rays. That’s to say, if a person has a very fair and sensitive complexion, their SPF should be higher than 50.

At this point, it’s necessary to eliminate the belief that a protection factor of 15 is more than enough. Nowadays, the recommendation is to make sure that the sunscreen has an SPF of 30 or higher.

A woman with sunscreen.
One of the most common mistakes when using sunscreen is to overlook its protection factor (SPF). This shouldn’t be less than 30.

2. Not paying attention to the type of protection

Ignoring the type of photoprotection of the sunscreen is another common mistake. In this regard, it should be clear that there are two types of radiation, UVA and UVB. Therefore, it’s advisable to check the product label and determine whether its components provide protection against both forms of solar radiation or only against one.

3. Not applying the necessary amount

For proper coverage, it’s recommended to put 2 mg of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin. That is, a full coat of sunscreen in each application.

4. Using the same sunscreen on the face and body

The sunscreen market is quite wide. The cosmetic industry has developed formulas that adapt to all skin types (oily, combination or dry). There are even special varieties for the face and others for the body.

It’s best to choose a particular format for each area, since facial skin is more sensitive and requires certain special components that aren’t aggressive on the skin.

5. Not reapplying the product

In general terms, we recommend you apply sunscreen 30 minutes before direct exposure to the sun. Once outside, it should be reapplied at least every two hours to maintain protection. Also, reapply after exercise, swimming, among other activities.

6. Not using it on cloudy days

Contrary to popular belief, solar radiation is present throughout the year. It has even been determined that about 90% of ultraviolet radiation penetrates the clouds. Therefore, you should protect yourself even if there’s no sun.

7. Using sunscreen when it has expired

Signs such as a change of color or smell in the sunscreen are indicative that you should stop using the product and replace it with a new one. In fact, even if these characteristics don’t reveal a deterioration of the sunscreen, you should stop using it if its expiry date has passed. This is because its functionality decreases and it’ll put skin health at risk.

A woman with sunscreen.
If the sunscreen has expired, it should be renewed. Otherwise, it may not fulfill its function and cause problems.

8. Forgetting certain areas

The neck, neckline, hands and even the ears need protection, as they’re constantly exposed to radiation. Despite this, some people tend to ignore these areas during the application of the product.

Correcting these mistakes when using sunscreen is crucial

Proper sun protection is crucial in order to delay the signs of aging and other problems associated with radiation. Therefore, when using the product, try to avoid the mistakes mentioned above. At the same time, it’s advisable to reinforce the protection with adequate hydration and the use of clothing that covers a large part of the skin.

If possible, it’s advisable to consult a dermatologist to determine the best protection factor, according to the type of skin and individual characteristics. These days, there are sprays, as well as cream and gel sunscreens. It’s best to carefully review their labels to learn about their components and their level of protection.

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