As the summer months approach and we spend more time outdoors, it’s important to use sunscreen to protect any exposed skin.
Most of us don’t realize the mistakes we’re making, which decrease the effectiveness of our sunscreen. Here are five of the most common mistakes people make with sunscreen, and how to avoid them.
• Only applying sunscreen on sunny days
Get in the habit of applying sunscreen every day, like brushing your teeth. Even when the sky is overcast, your skin is exposed to UV light from the sun.
• Not using water-resistant sunscreen
If you’re planning to spend a lot of time in the water, it makes sense to buy water-resistant sunscreen. Sweating and swimming will cause regular sunscreen to wear off faster, while water-resistant sunscreen keeps working for an additional 40 or 80 minutes, depending on the label.
• Using sunscreen with a low SPF
Buy sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or more. A higher SPF protects your skin from the sun’s rays for a longer period of time.
• Buying sunscreen without broad-spectrum protection
Sunscreen without broad-spectrum protection only guards your skin against sunburn, which is caused by UVB rays. Sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection defends against not only sunburn, but premature skin aging caused by UVA rays.
• Not paying attention to active ingredients
Look for active ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide on your sunscreen’s label for the best protection. These are known as “physical” sunscreens, as opposed to the “chemical” versions, and they not only offer better protection, they are less prone to cause irritation, and won’t absorb into the skin. Steer away from sunscreens with oils, fragrances and para-aminobenzoic acid if you have sensitive skin.